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Number of contact lens wearers is still rising, says ACLM

The number of contact lens wearers in the UK and Ireland is on the rise, ACLM report confirms

contact lens on finger
The number of contact lens wearers in the UK and Ireland has more than doubled over the last 12 years and reached 3.5 million last year, according to a report published by the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM).

The figure has risen from nearly 1.6 million in 1992 and represents 9% of people aged 15–64 years said the association. Of this group, 1.5 million people use daily disposables and 1.6 million people use frequent replacement contact lenses.

The size of the UK and Ireland contact lens market in 2014 was £226m, data collected from contributing members of the association reported.  

In 2013 this figure was £240m, but the apparent reduction in the market has been attributed to redistributions of stock, as well as parts of the market shifting to non-contributing companies of the association. 

In its market report for 2014, the ACLM concluded: “In reality, the overall market is more or less stable.”

According to the report’s technical summary, the market was made up of the sale of over 600 million contact lenses. The highest market value category comprised of daily disposables at 59%, with soft frequent replacement lenses at 36%, rigid lenses at 4% and traditional soft lenses at 1%.  

The number of wearers is derived from the number of contact lenses sold, combined with the estimated wearing schedules, not from surveying the wearers themselves. Year to year variations are therefore bound to occur, said the ACLM.

The 2015 edition of the product manual of the ACLM has now been published, the association also announced today (22 May). It lists technical details for all the contact lenses, solutions and materials produced by member companies of the ACLM, and covers the majority of products available in the UK.  

Secretary general of the ACLM, Simon Rodwell said: “The ACLM Contact Lens Year Book remains an essential product guide and handy reference for contact lens practitioners.”

Mr Rodwell added: “As is the case every year, there are plenty of new products, more than 100, and changes to parameters, and many older technology items have been removed. Products from new member companies No7 Contact Lenses and Sauflon, now CooperVision, are included, and the acquisitions of Prospect Lenses and Innovative Sclerals are reflected in the listings.”

Practitioners can download an order form for the book from the ACLM website