The Culture Calculation: Data-Backed Behaviors for Contact Lens Success

The newest “See Tomorrow” report identifies the most impactful professional factors that help create a positive contact lens culture in practices. Our report highlights opportunities to reconsider common behaviors and looks ahead to what matters most from now to 2026.

The Contact Lens Institute—in partnership with The Vision Council—surveyed 173 members of the U.S. eye care community, asking a range of questions regarding beliefs and behaviors when it comes to cultivating contact lens enthusiasm among their colleagues and patients. Responses included perspectives from optometrists, opticians, ophthalmologists, and practice administrators.

Turning Beliefs into Action

Chief among the previewed findings is that 94% of respondents believe their practices already have a positive contact lens culture. 84% of practices encourage doctors and staff to recommend contact lenses, with the same percentage encouraging patients to consider this form of vision correction.

Those beliefs are in stark contrast to actual behaviors. The new data indicates that only 49% of practices discuss contact lenses with the majority of eligible, non-lens wearing patients. This validates prior See Tomorrow consumer research, in which more than two-thirds of patients did not recall contact lenses being discussed during their last two office visits. In a related survey earlier this year, 44% of glasses-only wearers expressed interest in contact lenses, but stated the possibility was never raised by their doctor or staff.

What Matters Most When Building a Contact Lens Culture?

Respondents were asked to rate the importance of more than 20 factors that affect a positive contact lens culture.

After accounting for product availability, as well as new products and treatments, members of the eye care community focused on items under their direct control: education and training, in-office advocacy, and the emotional and professional benefits of prescribing contact lenses.

What About Profitability?

Surprisingly, only 47% of respondents indicated their practices quantify the business impacts of contact lens patients compared to patients who rely on other forms of vision correction. Of those that do perform some type of assessment, 56% report that contact lens patients are more profitable. This raises several questions regarding tracking and analysis methodologies, the under-utilization of strategies such as prescribing glasses to current contact lens patients, and myths that may color perspectives on the topic.

Greatest Predicted Impact 2023-2026

Advancements in contact lens products and treatments likewise ranked high among factors that will have the greatest impact through 2026. Profitability as a driver of contact culture is also on the radar for the next three years, identified by 21% of the eye care community as having significant potential.

These responses suggest that savvy leaders may devote more energy to keeping their teams and patients informed about contact lens improvements, as well as better evaluating the practice management advantages of contact lens prescribing.

Vision West East 2023 Innovation Stage Panel

Watch our expert panel from the Innovation Stage, moderated by CLI Board Member Charissa Lee, OD, FAAO, and joined by Alysse Henkel, senior director, Market Research & Analytics for The Vision Council, and 2023 CLI Visionaries Shelby Brogdon, OD, McFarland Eye Care, Little Rock; Sabrina Gaan, OD, Eyes on Plainville, Plainville, Mass.; and Lisa Hornick, OD, FAAO, Stanford Ranch Optometry, Rocklin, Calif.

Dr. Charissa Lee

Dr. Shelby Brogdon

Dr. Shelby Brogdon

Dr. Lisa Hornick

Dr. Lisa Hornick

Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Ms. Alysse Henkel