Why All the Fireworks?
Just how do we define a contact lens dropout? Is it a patient who stopped wearing contact lenses altogether? Is it someone who wears them only part of the day or not every day? Or is a contact lens dropout someone who is seriously considering refractive surgery? Could it be all of the above?
A study by Pritchard, Fonn and Brazeau showed that within the past 5 to 10 years, 34% of all contact lens patients have dropped out permanently or temporarily. Of that number, 77% gave contact lenses a second try. But almost 50% of them failed again.
These are significant numbers. Other reports claim that 50% of our contact lens patients will disappear on this same horizon. The reasons most cited relate to dryness, comfort, convenience and cost.
As we all know, the contact lens market is a multi-billion dollar industry. If we continue to lose 25% to 50% of this market, even over a short period of time, we'll pay an astronomical price.
With that in mind, we've put this special supplement together, based on a panel presentation held at the University of Houston College of Optometry during its 21st Annual Symposium on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Contemporary Vision.
This is a shootout to borrow an old-fashioned Texas term that we hope will help preserve a part of our practice that's in grave danger. To rightly defend our contact lens industry, we have assembled some world-renowned experts. In the pages that follow, they discuss how and why patients drop out of contact lens wear. They offer sound advice on how to reverse this trend by keeping patients happier and more successful in their lenses.
We extend our gratitude to Alcon, which made all of this possible by funding the project. Please read on. You'll gain useful information that you can apply to your practice today.
P. G. Bergmanson, OD, PhD