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Eye Doctors Aren’t Wearing the Same Contact Lenses They Prescribe for Patients, Study Suggests

The findings point to ‘missed opportunities to recommend the best contact lens option.’

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SAN ANTONIO, TX — There’s a difference between what U.S. eyecare professionals are choosing for their personal contact lens wear and what they’re prescribing for patients, new data from CooperVision suggests.

Among 183 surveyed U.S. optometrists who wear one-day contact lenses, 72 percent prefer a silicone hydrogel product for themselves. But only 33 percent of patients are prescribed the same material.

The research also found that nearly six out of 10 optometrists who wear one-day contact lenses choose to only wear silicone hydrogel material.

“When optometrists are overwhelmingly choosing the healthiest contact lens material for themselves, yet still prescribing it at a substantially lower rate for patients, we have to ask why,” said Michele Andrews, senior director, professional and academic affairs, North America, CooperVision. “This new finding adds to our recent study on silicone hydrogel 1-day prescribing. It points to ECP misunderstandings about how patients perceive cost and comfort, leading to missed opportunities to recommend the best contact lens option.”

“1-Day Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lens Report: Does Professional Practice Align with Consumer Expectations?” was released in August 2018, based on proprietary research among more than 450 ECPs and 1,500 consumers in Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., detailing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. During the recent American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, CooperVision shared U.S.-specific data from the report, supplementing the aggregated global data previously announced.

In the U.S., 96 percent of ECPs agree that if cost were equivalent they would choose silicone hydrogel over hydrogel for their one-day patients, according to CooperVision. But 74 percent of U.S. consumers say they expect their ECP to recommend the healthiest option regardless of cost, and 82 percent of U.S. consumers are likely to follow the advice of their ECP no matter the cost.

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About 94 percent of U.S. ECPs agree that one-day silicone hydrogel lenses are the best choice to safeguard patient eye health related to contact lens wear. But even ECP self-wear numbers are still well below that level of support.

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