PURPOSE To determine the chronic morbidity of corneal infiltrative events (CIEs) associated with contact lens wear. METHODS The central corneas of both eyes of 13 subjects who had suffered a CIE 27 +/- 4 months previously were examined by using slit-lamp biomicroscopy, confocal microscopy, and ultrasound pachometry. Snellen visual acuity was recorded in both eyes. A questionnaire was administered to ascertain the type and extent of changes in contact lens wear and care since suffering from the CIE. RESULTS Slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed the presence of a circular scar, approximately 1.5 mm in diameter, in the central cornea of the right eye of the patient who had suffered the most clinically severe CIE; no residual scar, or any other abnormality, was detected in any of the other 12 patients. No significant difference between the 2 eyes was found with respect to basal epithelial cell density; anterior or posterior keratocyte density; endothelial cell density, polymegethism, or pleomorphism; corneal thickness; or visual acuity. Anecdotally, however, markedly reduced pan-corneal cell counts, increased endothelial polymegethism, and reduced corneal thickness were observed in the affected eye of the patient who had suffered the most clinically severe CIE. After having suffered from a CIE, many patients changed lens type or brand, ceased to routinely sleep in lenses, or wore lenses less often. CONCLUSIONS In general, contact lens-associated CIEs do not compromise the long-term integrity of the cornea. Changes in lens-related behaviors of patients who have suffered from a CIE seem to be aimed at reducing the risk of a further occurrence. Anecdotally, more severe CIEs may be associated with chronic tissue morbidity.