Research Reveals Significant Gaps in Consumer Contact Lenses Knowledge

Data Shows What’s Holding Back Your Contact Lens Practice | Spring 2022

U.S. eye care providers are missing an opportunity to talk about contact lens options with two thirds of patients, according to a CLI-commissioned nationwide survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. adults who require vision correction

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CLI research reveals that U.S. eye care practitioners are missing an opportunity to talk about contact lens options with two out of three patients, among other eye-popping findings.

Educating the Uninformed

When asked about their two most recent practice visits, only a fraction of adults remembered contact lenses being discussed as an occasional alternative for glasses (11%), a replacement for glasses (8%) or to replace reading glasses (4%). Despite widespread attention about the issue in the past two years, just 6% recall their practitioner having talked about contact lenses to eliminate fogging. And a meager 7% remembered being told about new advancements in contact lenses. 66% stated that none of these opportunities were raised.

Reaching the Misinformed

Misinformation may affect consumer contact lens purchasing decisions, placing their eye health and vision at risk.

About one in two Americans aren’t necessarily aware that contact lenses can be different from each other—a recipe for unadvisable switching. Nearly half aren’t sure if all contact lens brands are essentially the same (44%) or if it’s ok to swap their prescribed brand for another (47%). Another 57% aren’t sure if all contact lenses are made from the same type of plastic and 46% don’t know if they all use the same general design.


Reaching the Misinformed

False beliefs may lead to patient-initiated brand swaps, as approximately one in five adults definitively stated that contact lens brands are interchangeable. The CLI research also showed that about three out of five adults may not check with their eye doctor before switching brands.

Reaching the Misinformed

Urban legends can also be an issue, with about one in two adults who require vision correction believing myths that may prevent them from wearing contact lenses. This includes 10% who stated that contact lenses are dangerous. Another 11% believe contact lenses can permanently stick to the eye and 14% think contact lenses can get lost behind the eye.

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Getting to the “Why”

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Missed Opportunities?

Additional Insights

There are significant opportunities with older patients, barriers to wear, and expectations for technological advancements.

  • Presbyopia remains a massive opportunity for the eye care community to increase value to patients—and practice growth—through contact lens fitting. Among all adults ages 55+, 67% use prescription glasses and 38% use reading glasses, but only 6% wear contact lenses. In the same age group, only 4% recall their eye care practitioner having discussed contact lenses as a potential alternative to readers during their last two office visits.

  • Investment in myopia management education is breaking through. Vision-corrected parents of children under 18 are more than twice as likely to know that contact lenses that slow the progression of myopia are available today compared to parents of older children.

  • Significant upside exists to inform patients about contact lenses that offer novel benefits. Only 5% of vision-corrected adults believe that lenses are available that administer drugs directly to the eye, and just 56% understand that colored lenses are an option.

  • Two of the top barriers to contact lens wear are addressable by eye care professionals. With 1 in 3 people (34%) stating they don’t wear contact lenses or use them more frequently because of comfort issues, practitioners should think about this from the initial fit; positive first impressions increase retention. Another 1 in 5 vision-corrected adults state they don’t wear contact lenses or use them more frequently because care is perceived to be difficult, yet CLI’s The EASY Way program and fast-growing options such as daily disposable lenses prove otherwise.

  • Consumers see augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and fitness tracking-enabled contact lenes as rapidly moving from science fiction to commercial availability. Within the next five years, 24% of adults believe that AR/VR contacts will be available and 25% believe that health monitoring lenses will be obtainable—presenting practitioners with door opening opportunities to discuss the benefits of current contact lens technologies and benefits.