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New Study Shows Many U.S. Contact Lens Wearers Do Not Comply With Recommended Replacement Schedules

In study, contact lens wearers who replace contact lenses on schedule are more comfortable; Replacement schedule compliance highest with daily disposable and one-month replacement lenses.

Atlanta, GA (Vocus) June 4, 2009 -- A new study demonstrated the lack of compliance with manufacturer recommended replacement of contact lenses among U.S. contact lens wearers. In a study of 1,654 contact lens wearers, 59 percent of two-week replacement contact lens patients wore their lenses for longer than the manufacturer recommended replacement frequency (MRRF). Comparatively, 29 percent of one-month replacement contact lens wearers and only 15 percent of daily disposable wearers wore their lenses for longer than the MRRF.

The study was conducted by the Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR) at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in partnership with David B. Sarwer, Ph.D, associate professor of psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. CIBA VISION announced these results as part of a study examining replacement schedule compliance.

In this study, the CCLR also investigated patient behaviors around contact lens replacement schedule compliance. The most frequent reasons for wearing lenses beyond the MRRF were “forgetting which day to replace lenses” (51 percent) and “to save money” (26 percent). However, patients do report having important discussions with their eye doctors about the impact of adherence to a replacement schedule: 87 percent of patients reported discussing health effects of non-compliance, and 77 percent reported discussing comfort effects with their eye care practitioner.

“Although patients appear to be aware of potential complications of not replacing their contact lenses when recommended, compliance to the replacement schedules is still apparently low, particularly with two-week replacement lenses,” said Desmond Fonn, MOptom, F.A.A.O., Director, CCLR and Professor of School of Optometry. “These are important findings for eye care practitioners to take into consideration when prescribing contact lenses and recommending replacement schedules for their patients.”

The replacement frequency or schedule refers to how often contact lenses are discarded and replaced. Typically, disposable-type lenses are replaced daily, every two weeks or monthly. Proteins, lipids and micro-organisms can collect on the surfaces of contact lenses, so, for lenses that are going to be used more than once, it is important to clean them on removal from the eye and replace them at appropriate intervals.

“Since today’s economic environment can put pressure on consumers to delay purchases, including necessary healthcare products, it is critical for eye care professionals to educate patients regarding the importance of proper replacement of their contact lenses,” said Jennifer Davis, OD at Vision Tech Optometry Center in Virginia.

“CIBA VISION is committed to working with patients and eye care practitioners to encourage greater contact lens compliance for overall eye health and wellness,” said Dwight Akerman, O.D., F.A.A.O.(Dipl), Director of Professional Programs for CIBA VISION North America. “In fact, we are embarking on a major educational campaign to help eye care practitioners communicate to patients the importance of proper wear, care and replacement of contact lenses.”

About the Study
From a national sample of eye care practitioners, more than 158 eye care practitioners opted into the study and 1,859 of their patients returned surveys with 1654 of these meeting inclusion criteria in order to be eligible for analysis. Sixty-six percent of the patients were female, and the mean age was 34 +/- 12 years. Eighty-eight percent of lenses were worn on a daily wear basis for 12.8 +/- 3.2 hours per day, 6.2 +/- 1.5 days a week. The distribution of lens types was 16 percent daily disposable, 45 percent two-week replacement silicone hydrogel and 39 percent one-month replacement silicone hydrogel. Eye care practitioners were asked to provide lens information and their recommendation for replacement schedules after the surveys had been completed and sealed in envelopes. All responses were anonymous.

About Centre for Contact Lens Research
Established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo's School of Optometry, the Centre for Contact Lens Research is a globally recognized organization that performs clinical research investigating the ocular response to contact lenses and other forms of vision correction. Working in partnership with industry affiliates and collaborating with both local and international researchers, the organization’s clinical trials focus on conventional and silicone hydrogel materials, rigid gas permeable lenses, lens care products, orthokeratology, and the ocular effects of refractive surgery.

With a shared passion for healthy vision and better life, CIBA VISION is a global leader in the research, development and manufacturing of contact lenses and lens care products. CIBA VISION is dedicated to improving the quality of patients’ lives around the world through innovative vision care solutions and strong partnerships with eye care professionals. With worldwide headquarters in Atlanta, CIBA VISION products are available in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit the CIBA VISION web site at

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Vice President, North America Communications

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