Proper handling of contact lenses may improve patient satisfaction.

Proper handling of contact lenses may improve patient satisfaction. Photo: Getty Images. Click image to enlarge.

It’s well-known that many factors impact a patient’s overall experience with soft contact lenses. A recent study explored the impact of subjective factors—vision, lens handling at application and initial and end-of-day comfort—on overall single vision contact lens satisfaction.

A total of 55 contact lens wearers were fitted with somofilcon A (SiHy) and etafilcon A (Hy). Both lenses performed well in terms of subjective ratings for comfort, vision, handling and overall, with all measures for both lenses having a median score of eight or higher on a scale of zero to 10. Hy scores were generally lower than SiHy across all ratings and statistically significant for handling and comfort upon application. Lens preference for handling at application reflected this trend, with 67% of participants preferring the SiHy lens and 47% preferring the SiHy lens strongly. Standard deviations of the scores for the Hy lens were also much larger than for the SiHy lens, in particular for “overall satisfaction with comfort” and “overall satisfaction with these lenses.”

Several things stood out to the authors, the first being handling at application and overall satisfaction with vision were both similarly correlated with overall satisfaction. This supports previously reported dropout rates showing that handling and vision are two important criteria for successful lens wear.

Comfort at the end of the day was also similarly correlated with overall satisfaction. “However, it is interesting to note that ‘overall satisfaction with comfort’ was much more highly correlated with ‘overall satisfaction,’” the authors explained. “This suggests that in terms of perceptions of overall lens comfort, end-of-day comfort is certainly not the whole story for the average lens wearer.”

Handling at application was one of those areas, and the results were especially interesting. When split, handling results for the SiHy lens showed no correlation with overall satisfaction. In contrast, scores for handling the Hy lens at application were highly correlated with overall satisfaction. Correlation of comfort upon application and overall satisfaction also showed a stronger correlation for Hy (0.61 vs. 0.41 for SiHy).

“This is an interesting result and suggests that, even with established wearers, negative experience in lens handling at application repeated daily could accumulate to a negative overall perception of the lenses, which is subsequently reflected in the overall subjective ratings,” the authors explained. “Conversely, a positive lens handling experience at application could be easily forgotten as a simple step in a daily routine. It also suggests that handling at application could play an important role in perceived comfort immediately after application. Aside from the possibility of a negative association affecting perceptions of comfort, if the experience of placing the lens on the eye is challenging, short-term discomfort or awareness could be the result.”

The authors noted that the impact of poor lens handling should not be underestimated, as it could drive a negative overall experience for the patient.

Guthrie S, Ng A, Woods J, et al. Exploring the factors which impact overall satisfaction with single vision contact lenses. Cont Lens Ant Eye. February 20, 2022. [Epub ahead of print].