Contact Lens Compliance is Suspect

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Contact Lens Compliance is Suspect

New findings being published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye suggests contact lens wearers do a poor job of complying with appropriate contact lens care. The findings are based upon two online surveys that were sent to just under 1500 randomly selected 12 to 39 years old wearers of silicone hydrogel and hydrogel soft contact lenses. 

Important findings included the fact that almost half of the respondents did not hand wash with soap prior to lens insertion in the morning and removal at night.  Even fewer (about 25%) said that they did not rub lenses with disinfecting solution. Our Refractive Services Director, Dr. Brad Spagnolo, comments that,  “Although many of the disinfecting solutions on the market use words like ‘No rub’, studies still support the continued practice of performing manual cleaning with an index finger to reduce the risk of infection.”

Compliance with lens case care was equally poor or worse with 33 percent responding that they cleaned their cases monthly or less often. Further, most patients reported cleaning the cases with tap water. According to Dr. Shari Strier, Clinical Services Director, this practice can “increase the risk of ocular infections.” And, while lens cases should be replaced about once every 3 months, 48 percent said they replace the storage case once a year or less.

Dr. Spagnolo agrees stating, “Unfortunately, we often find patients wear a set of lens much longer than is recommended, making them more likely to experience ocular discomfort. Perhaps more importantly, this habit may put them at a greater risk for a serious eye infection.”

Dr. Strier summarizes, “We recommend that our contact lens wearers have annual eye exams.  We stress to those patients the guidelines for good lens care and hygiene, including lens cleaning and replacement schedules.

The study was sponsored by VISTAKON, a Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Study Source: Hickson-Curran S, Chalmers RL, Riley C. (In press). Patient attitudes and behavior regarding hygiene and replacement of soft contact lenses and storage cases. Contact Lens & Anterior Eye (2011)