Love at First Contact Lens Fit

In Partnership with Johnson and Johnson Vision

As optometrists the interest in contact lens wear as we emerge from the pandemic seems higher than ever – whether it’s kids returning to the classroom and just now discovering that they have had a major change in vision, or from adults who are frustrated with fogging issues with glasses caused by mask wear. But studies show that especially new contact lens wearers are at significant risk of discontinuing contact lens use. Research shows that on average 21.7% of existing contact lens wearers drop out every year. New wearers actually drop out at a higher rate than existing lens wearers, with a 2017 study showing a new wearer drop out rate of 26%, and of those 50% drop out in the first 2 months! So what can we do?! Our expert guests on this live stream panel include Dr. Danielle Richardson of Zak Eyes and Fierce Clarity, Dr. Luis Rojas of DeNovo Eye, and Dr. Kurt Moody,  Director of North American Professional Education at Johnson and Johnson Vision. 

When it comes to new contact lens wearers, optometrists only get 1 chance to make that first impression with the contact lens technology they select. With studies indicating roughly 13% of new wearers won’t make it past the first two months of wear, for a significant percentage of your patients, the initial lens you select may be the only one they ever try! Starting with the best contact lens option for your patient will lead to a more successful fit and fewer office visits and chair time on the back end.

What are some of the factors that are causing such high drop-out rates?

  • Lots of device use! The average Gen Z (age 10-25) device use is 9hrs per day of screen time 
  • Digital device users blink 60% less when using devices and contact lens use reduces the blink rate too, causing the perfect storm to disrupt the tear film. 
  •  Research on new wearer drop out shows that the top reasons for discontinuing contact lens wear were poor vision (47%), discomfort (25%), and lack of motivation (18%). 

How are contact lenses designed to address these issues? Dr. Kurt Moody breaks down the science behind the comfort of ACUVUE contact lenses, and how these lenses were specifically designed to address the main issues that cause drop out. 

  • A tapered edge: the ACUVUE infinity edge is tapered to reduce interaction with the eyelid as we blink. We blink 12-14,000 times per day so a comfortable edge is essential!
  • Coefficient of friction of the lens material is directly correlated to contact lens comfort; lower is better. In head to head studies, ACUVUE OASYS 1-DAY has a coefficient of friction that is comparable to the natural cornea, and maintains this low coefficient of friction even after 18 hours of wear.

Don’t underestimate the importance of visual comfort on the success of a contact lens wear. Fitting toric and multifocal contact lenses in patients with these visual needs is essential to successful outcomes. Remember poor vision is the leading cause of contact lens drop out according to studies

What can you do during the exam to make sure you achieve better success?

  • Take a good history so you know your patients’ needs. Listen to what you patient wants and the issues they are currently having. They may be looking for contact lens wear for specific activities, and fitting the appropriate lens type and visual correction set up all relies on you getting these insights from your patient up front. 
  •  An accurate refraction is key. Dr. Moody reinforces that binocular balance and sensory dominance testing are essential for multifocal fits.
  • Slit lamp findings are so important; evaluate the tear meniscus height; is it normal or thin? Evaluate meibomian gland expression. Use vital dye staining to check for SPK or lid wiper epitheliopathy. All of these tests can tell you about potential issues your patient is currently having with the lens material, modulus, and edge design that they currently wear, or if they are a new wearer, lead you to making the best initial lens selection. 
  • Share your data with your patient before you bring them a new contact lens. The more informed your patient is about why you are selecting this specific contact lens for them, the better decision they’ll make when it comes to purchase lenses and return to you for future eyecare needs. They need to know up front what factors may impact their contact lens performance so when they do have issues like end of day dryness, they understand why and that their lenses were selected because you as the doctor knew this would be a problem they would face and their lenses were designed for best performance under these conditions.  

Educate patients about the specific contact lens technology you recommend and why that is important for their unique eyes. Don’t make price the driving factor behind lens selection; all lenses are NOT the same. It’s important for patients to know that contact lens brands and materials are very different, and their visit to the optometrist was an essential part of their contact lens experience because we assessed their unique eyes and selected a lens that will perform best for them!

Drs. Glover & Lyerly
Defocus Media is run by two successful Millennial optometrists and social media entrepreneurs, Dr. Jennifer Lyerly and Dr. Darryl Glover. They have proven track records of successfully engaging online readers and followers. They reside and practice in North Carolina.

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