Each December for the last six years, Review of Optometry has brought you its annual Presbyopia Report. This year, we thought twice about devoting so much space to a topic that we cover extensively throughout the year. We asked ourselves: Is there really anything new that we havent already shared with you, our readers? Arent you tired of hearing about the enormous impact that presbyopes will have on your practice? After all, its a reality that the marketing gurus of our time dont let us forget.

In fact, throughout the years, Review has inundated you with information about advances for presbyopes. There is no shortage of amazing technology to suit the needs of even the pickiest patients.

But, what good is this knowledge unless its put to use? Consider, for example, some optometrists continued reluctance to switch to multifocal contact lenses as a first-line modality. As contributing writer Frank Celia points out in Multifocal Contacts Make Headway, research indicates that patients prefer multifocal lenses to monovision fits. Even so, many optometrists have refrained from using them, Not so much for clinical reasons as for practice management ones, Mr. Celia writes. Fitting multifocals takes longer than fitting monovision and usually entails more follow-up visits. So much extra time spent with the patient could eat into practice revenues, some believe.

Of course, proponents of multifocal contact lenses disagree, but more importantly, your patients disagree. In a recent study conducted at the Ohio State University College of Optometry and published in Optometry and Vision Science, 76% of patients said they preferred the multifocals, while only 24% preferred monovision.

When analysts speak of new technology, they often refer to early adopters, those individuals who acquire new technology far before the majority of their peers. Presbyopic correction, by contact lens use or surgery, was a very popular area for these early adopters because they recognized the potential financial opportunities available in this enormous market segment. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the population over age 65 will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and then to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade). By 2030, there will be about 71.5 million older persons, almost twice their number in 2004.

But the point is, this technology is no longer new. It has become the standard, and an increasing number of surveys and related research show that your patients prefer it. 

1. Population Resource Center/U.S. Bureau of the Census. The Demographics of Aging in America. Available at: www.prcdc.org/summaries/aging/aging.html. (Accessed September 22, 2006

Vol. No: 143:12Issue: 12/15/2006