Optimising contact lens comfort for wearer success
Professor Philip Morgan reports on how eye care practitioners can go about reducing the number of people discontinuing contact lens wear by proactively addressing the issue of contact lens discomfort in practice
02 November 2020
Which change to the contact lens landscape could have the most dramatic impact on wearer satisfaction and therefore business success in the coming years?
When confronted with this question, optometrists and contact lens opticians (eye care practitioners, ECPs) tend to migrate to sophisticated improvements in contact lens designs, such as a novel multifocal lens or some form of complex ‘smart’ contact lens.
Of course, such innovations would open up new opportunities and probably drive new fits. But the most important change, which would increase the number of wearers and market size, is largely in the hands of ECPs: reducing the number of contact lens wearers who stop using their lenses. In other words, to minimise ‘drop-outs’ or ‘discontinuations’. ECPs have considerable influence over this phenomenon and the key to success in this area is to understand the key influence of contact lens discomfort (CLD) on drop-out rates, to appreciate the causes of CLD, and to then consider how it can best be managed.
• Drop out rate across all contact lens wearers in the UK is 17%1
• If annualised drop-out rate falls by 2%, to 15% of current wearers, the number of wearers will double in seven years.
Reducing discontinuations 1. It is important that new patients are not allowed to reach the stage where they have questions about their contact lens wear but do not feel empowered to contact their ECP.
2. Recognise that discomfort is a significant cause of contact lens failure and specifically address this point at every aftercare examination. This can be done using a variety of means, including validated questionnaires. Soliciting a verbal score out of 10 is a simple but effective method of achieving this, with clinical research experience suggesting that scores of seven of lower indicate sub-optimal comfort performance, which warrants attention and management.
3. Maintain contact with the new wearer on a very frequent basis over the first period of lens wear. To this end, some ECPs have described how they contact all new contact lens wearers via telephone on the first day of lens wear to check that they have been successful in applying their lenses, inviting questions at that stage.
For the full report, please email [email protected] or contact your Alcon Representative.1. Third party independent research agency, VNM July 2016, Alcon Data on file. ©2020 Alcon Inc.
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