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    What is the best contact lens for your patient?

    We have been the fortunate recipients of innovative technologies in contact lenses that were only concepts a mere decade ago. As a profession, we transitioned most of our two-week and monthly disposable contact lens wearers who were in traditional hydrogel materials into silicone hydrogel materials. Not only are these changes in material, but also significant advances in design.

    Additionally, there has been tremendous growth in the daily disposable modality. Several new materials and designs have created unprecedented comfort for many of our patients. Not only are those that are currently on the market remarkable technologies, but there are designs and materials that will continue to be brought to the market in our quest for more comfortable contact lens wear.

    More contact lenses: Why you are your biggest obstacle to success

    Now layer onto this the advances in toric and multifocal contact lenses, and you have set the stage for a remarkably powerful armamentarium of options with which fit our patients.

    So with that said, why are we essentially seeing just as many patients dropping out of contact lenses as those beginning lens wear? With all of these advances, we would think that the number of contact lens wearers would have exponentially increased in particular over the last several years.

    Are we asking the right questions?

    Years ago, we attended a lecture where we heard someone say that the number one reason that patients dropped out of contact lens wear was discomfort. The lecturer stated that 50 percent of individuals who stopped wearing lenses said that discomfort was the number one reason. The lecturer then went on to say that approximately 50 percent of our current contact lens wearers are uncomfortable with their current lenses. 

    After the lecture, we asked each other what we thought, and each of us agreed that “It’s good information, but it doesn't really apply to us. Our contact lens wearers aren’t discontinuing wear at the rates that the lecturer discussed, and there is no way that 50 percent of our current contact lens wearers are uncomfortable in their current lenses.”

    Boy, were we wrong!

    More from Dr. Brujic: 3 reasons why lens care is still important

    Shortly after that, we were both involved in a large clinical trial in which we were charged with recruiting uncomfortable contact lens wearers. We were having trouble recruiting for the study, so we just started having all of our lens wearers fill out the survey to see if they qualified. When they did, we realized very quickly how uncomfortable our seemingly comfortable contact lens wearers were.

    This information has really changed the way that we view our current contact lens wearers. We find that most patients want to please their optometrist or may even be concerned that the fix to uncomfortable contact lenses is discontinuing lens wear. We realized that a simple question like, “How are your contact lenses doing?” lead to nothing more than the question, “How are you doing today?” The answer to both—regardless of what the true feeling is—is usually a standard “Good.”

    Next: The challenge

    Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO
    Dr. Mile Brujic practices in Bowling Green, OH. He also owns Optometric Insights, a service providing career coaching to optometrists.
    David Kading, OD, FAAO, FCLSA
    Dr. Kading owns a two-location, three-doctor practice in Seattle. He specializes in dry eye and contact lenses with an emphasis on ...

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    • LisaEris
      I'm happy to read about this article which concerns about the comforts of contact lenses wearers like me. I absolutely agree that one of the most common reasons in dropping out the contact lenses is purely the discomfort that the wearers experience most of the time. I'm also one of those who would want to have these changes in materials and significant advances in designs of our lenses. I'm looking forward to more optometrists who look after the concerns and comforts of their patients in terms of their eye care.

    Optometry Times A/V