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Keywords:

  • Bothnia dystrophy;
  • retinitis pigmentosa;
  • tinted contact lenses;
  • visual function

Abstract.

Purpose:  To determine whether tinted contact lenses can improve visual function in patients with Bothnia dystrophy (BD), a genetically defined retinal dystrophy with prolonged dark adaptation.

Methods:  Twelve patients with BD were fitted with the same type of soft contact lenses tinted dark brown. Visual acuity (VA), contrast vision, near vision and visual fields were tested before and 1 month after contact lens fitting. The patients completed a visual function questionnaire. The physical properties of the contact lenses were tested using spectrophotometry.

Results:  The patients with the lowest VA described the most obvious improvement in visual function. This group of patients preferred darker contact lenses and continued wearing their contact lenses after the study ended. The patients with the best VA preferred lighter contact lenses and a few patients in this group discontinued contact lens wear upon completion of the study.

Conclusions:  Visual function in BD patients was improved by dark tinted contact lenses. The optimal colour for lenses varies, depending on the season and the individual. Other patient groups with retinal dystrophies associated with prolonged dark adaptation or dysfunction of the cone system, such as cone dystrophies or achromatopsia, may also benefit from this type of contact lens.