NEW YORK – The dropout rate for contact lens wear is 20%, Scot Morris, OD, moderator of the Global Contact Lens Forum, said here at Vision Expo East. He queried panel members about what eye care providers can do to change this.
Ashley McEvoy, company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Companies and Vision Care Inc., said, “We need to get new wearers into lenses earlier. The state of the science has gotten better, and we feel comfortable getting younger people into lenses. Multifocals are better.
“We see the conversation significantly drops out from the first fit, at the end of 1 month,” she continued. “We have to contact them on week 1 and week 2 and 3 to be sure they stay in the lenses. How are we proactively managing that patient through their journey to stay in lenses, through allergies?”
Robert Warner, Alcon’s global franchise head of vision care, agreed, saying that allergies and other challenges to lens wear are “making patient experience less than delightful.”
Morris added, “Treatment of ocular surface disease is essential to build your contact lens practice and your practice as a whole. Ocular surface issues should not keep people from wearing contacts.”
Mark McKenna, vice president and general manager of vision care for Bausch + Lomb, said: “We come out with new innovations, but unless we address underlying issues with the ocular surface, we’re missing the boat.”
The majority of dropout occurs at age 40 years, he said.
“We know dryness is an issue,” McKenna said. “Multifocal technology, until recently, hasn’t been as easy to fit.”
Morris said compliance remains a challenge.
“Are we performing an integrated approach to patient care?” Morris said. “We have a huge issue with overwear; there’s a lack of communication between doctors and patients about why it’s important to put in new lenses.”
“Patients mention they overwear their lenses, and we joke about it,” Jim Kirchner, OD, president and CEO of SynergEyes, said. “We need to be more diligent about discussing disposability time and changing lenses in a timely manner so the patient stays more comfortable.”
“We need a contact lens that will self-destruct after 30 wears,” Morris joked.
“We have a modality that behaves that way,” Jerry Warner, CooperVision North American president, said. “The 1-day modality. It’s far and away the most compliant modality. Compliance is in the 80% range. It’s why markets like Japan and the U.K. are fitting 60% to 70% of their patients.
“We’re seeing it grow in our market,” he continued. “We’re discovering the same outcome. This is the best prescribing behavior to ensure compliance once the education process has occurred. Then it’s about which material to put them in. With the advent of 1-day silicone hydrogel contact lenses, you have the best compliant modality and the best material you can put a patient in.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Morris S, et al. Global Contact Lens Forum: State of the Industry. Presented at: Vision Expo East. April 14-17; New York.
Disclosures: Kirchner is employed by SynergEyes. McEvoy is employed by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. McKenna is employed by Bausch + Lomb. Morris is a consultant, lecturer or conducts research for or has a financial interest in Alcon, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb and ComSquared Technologies. Jerry Warner is employed by CooperVision. Robert Warner is employed by Alcon.