Are your fitting habits meeting patient expectations?

Is there a gap between what contact lens patients want and what is sometimes prescribed in practice?

Optometrist and patient talking

A series of studies sponsored by CooperVision captured the responses from 147 UK eye care professionals (ECPs) and 971 UK contact lens patients who were surveyed to better understand their attitudes towards silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses.

The results shed new light on ECPs’ opinions of silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses, and the beliefs they hold which affect their fitting habits. Insights from patients about the expectations they have of their ECP, along with how they feel about silicone hydrogel contact lenses were also established.

This report summarises the key findings from the studies, examines the rationale for current fitting habits and reasons that, with such insights, now is the time to bridge the gap between the ECP and patient.

ECPs are in broad agreement about the health benefits of silicone hydrogel daily disposables. 


Concerns about fitting silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses often relate to perceptions of cost and comfort.

Perceived cost barrier: patient insight helps to overcome this challenge

Almost all ECPs (95%) agree that if cost were equivalent, they would choose silicone hydrogel over hydrogel for their daily disposable patients.1 Clearly, it seems ECPs often feel prevented from making this recommendation out of concern for the patient’s budget.

However over two-thirds (68%) of consumers say they expect their ECP - regardless of cost - to recommend a soft contact lens that provides 100% of the oxygen their eyes need.2

When the benefit of a product feature is explained in consumer language – eg ‘highly breathable’ – patients are more willing to pay for that feature: if cost was acceptable, 88% of contact lens patients would switch to a lens that was more breathable.4

Of course, today some silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses are available at the same or lower cost than some hydrogel daily disposables5 so this barrier has become somewhat obsolete.

Perceived comfort barrier: can silicone hydrogel materials deliver all day wearer comfort?

Whilst comfort concerns still exist, 88% of ECPs agree that silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses provide better long-term wearing comfort for patients than hydrogel daily disposable lenses.1

This latter opinion is more in keeping with current evidence, with several recent studies finding favourable results for the comfort of silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses,6-9 leading to the following conclusion, as stated by Professor Jones in his recent review:10

“1 day silicone hydrogel lenses provide excellent levels of comfort and physiological response.”

Professor Lyndon Jones, 201810

78% of consumers agree they want their ECP to recommend the best soft contact lens for their eyes and to hear a range of options if cost is an issue.3

Extent to which ECPs agree on the following benefits of silicone hydrogel daily disposables (SiH DDs):

  • 92% agree SiH DDs provide better long-term wearing comfort*
  • 93% agree SiH DDs provide the best benefits to patients
  • 83% agree SiH DDs provide better long term eye health benefits*

*versus Hy DD (wearers)

Benefits to patient:


Benefits to practice:


ECPs have more opportunity than ever before to meet today’s wearer needs.

An almost universal agreement exists among ECPs about the health benefits of wearing silicone hydrogel daily disposables. Insight from consumers tells us that they want to hear about their options, are interested to wear the healthiest lenses for their eyes and that cost is no longer a barrier.

“Aftercare is the perfect opportunity to update patients about silicone hydrogel material technology and the convenience (and compliance) benefits of a daily disposable modality. This can give your patients the freedom they want and also enhance your professional reputation, given that 70% of wearers would think more highly of their ECP just for offering them new, healthier products.”3

Mark Draper, head of marketing & professional services

To read more about CopperVision's research on what contact lens wearers want, click here


  1. ECP perception of the benefits of 1 day silicone hydrogels. February 2018. Cello Health Insight. Data on file. Survey carried out online in US, UK and Japan. Total sample size n=300 (100 ECPs in each country)
  2. Barriers to 1 day silicone hydrogel research. July 2017. Cello Health Insight. Data on file. Survey carried out online in US, UK and Japan. Total sample size n=158 (US n=61, UK n=47, Japan n=50)
  3. Silicone hydrogel lenses. 2018. YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1520 adults who wear contact lenses. Survey carried out online
  4. Consumer insight study. GB adults who wear soft contact lenses. July 2018. YouGov Plc. Data on file. Survey carried out online in UK. Total sample size n=470 (279 daily disposable)
  5. Based on manufacturer’s published recommended retail prices and CooperVision’s recommended retail price. Retail price is solely at the discretion of the retailer at all times and the above is not meant to influence the price any retailer charges
  6. Varikooty J, Keir N, Richter D, et al. Comfort response of three silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses. Optometry and vision science 2013; 90:945- 53
  7. Wolffsohn JS, Mroczkowska S, Hunt OA, et al. Crossover Evaluation of Silicone Hydrogel Daily Disposable Contact Lenses. Optometry and vision science 2015;92:1063-8
  8. Diec J, Tilia D, Thomas V. Comparison of Silicone Hydrogel and Hydrogel Daily Disposable Contact Lenses. Eye & contact lens 2018;In press
  9. Woods J, Ng A, Luensmann D, et al. Short-term comfort comparison of two daily disposable contact lenses of different material and modulus. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018; 59(9):1753
  10. Jones LW “Doc, I think I’m allergic to these new lenses.” Contact Lens Spectrum. May 2018;33:44-46.

© CooperVision 2019.

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