Even though daily lens disposal is becoming more commonplace, proper lens care remains an important part of safe and successful contact lens wear. Trouble is, at least one in three patients aren’t getting the message, or so they say.

Two recent surveys looked at the state of contact lens care education; the first assessed patients’ experiences with the recommendations they received from eye care providers while the second asked doctors to describe their methods for communicating wear and care recommendations to their patients. In all, 4,088 patients and 1,100 providers participated in the studies.

As reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, one third (32.9%) of contact lens wearers said they never heard any lens wear and care recommendations. Fewer than half (47.9%) recalled hearing their doctor recommend not sleeping in lenses and only 19.8% recalled being told to avoid topping off their contact lens solution. 

Among doctors, a majority reported sharing recommendations “always or most of the time” at initial visits, regular checkups and complication-related visits. The most common recommendations doctors encouraged among patients were: complying with the recommended lens replacement schedules (mentioned at 85% of regular visits), not sleeping in lenses (79.0% of regular visits) and not topping off solutions (64.4% of regular visits). 

“These findings can assist in the creation of health communication messages to help encourage eye care providers to communicate more effectively with their patients,” the study authors wrote.

To improve patient retention of lens care advice, the American Optometric Association (AOA) advocates using the “teach-back” method, wherein doctors ask their patients to reiterate care recommendations back to them. The AOA has an educational resource about the technique here.

The implications of these surveys will be discussed today at 2pm Eastern time in a Facebook live chat hosted by the AOA, as part of its efforts to take part in the CDC’s Contact Lens Heath Week, which begins today. AOA President Barbara Horn, OD, will field question from doctors and patients alike on the society’s Facebook account.
The CDC also has resources available to help bridge the education gap, available here.

Konne NM, Collier SA, Spangler J, Cope JR. Healthy Contact Lens Behaviors Communicated by Eye Care Providers and Recalled by Patients—United States, 2018. MMR Weekly August 16, 2019 / 68(32);693–697.