Looking at studies shows that contact lens wearers continue to abuse lens wear by not following wear recommendations, care regimens, or replacement times. Even with advances in contact lens science, such non-compliance remains a significant problem. Reinforcing education and training plus prescribing daily disposables may help improve compliance.
For years I have jokingly referred to contact lens wearers as “the junkies of eye care.” I mean, these patients have a tendency to abuse just about every aspect of contact lens wear—care regimens, replacement schedules, wearing time. You name it, they ignore it.
And for that same amount of time I have blamed myself for these patients’ failings. Perhaps I am not explaining the importance of compliance, I thought, or perhaps I am not emphasizing how serious the complications of abusing their contacts could be.
So, to help clear up my angst about this situation I decided to do some quick online research.
The first study I found was among a group of young, university-based contact lens users in South India.1 Two hundred and sixteen young soft contact lens wearers with an age range of 18 to 22 years were questioned regarding their compliance with soft contact lens care with a focus on contact lens wearing habits, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and maintenance of lens care accessories.
Only 34 percent of the subjects maintained a satisfactory level of compliance. Twenty-three percent of those who participated in this study reported that they wore their lenses longer than the recommended daily wearing time. Some 5.6 percent of the contact lens wearers studied admitted they slept overnight with their contact lenses against the prescriber’s recommendations.
This mirrors the results of another study conducted around the same time in which 24 percent of wearers reported overwear of their contact lenses.2 It has long been recognized sleeping in contact lenses carries a five times greater risk of microbial keratitis compared with daily wear of lenses.
1. Noushad B, Saoji Y, Bhakat P, Thomas J. Contact lens compliance among a group of young, university-based lens users in South India. Australas Med J. 2012;5(3):168-174.
2. Gyawali R, Nestha Mohamed F, Bist J, Kandel H, Marasini S, Khadka J. Compliance and hygiene behaviour among soft contact lens wearer in the Maldives. Clin Exp Optom 2014 Jan;97(1):43-47.
3. Reuff EM, Wolfe J, Bailey MD. A study of contact lens compliance in a non-clinical setting. Cont Lens Anterior Eye 2019 Oct;42(5): 557-561.
4. Ramamoorthy P, Nichols JJ. Compliance factors associated with contact lens-related dry eye. Eye Contact Lens 2014 Jan;40(1):17-22.
5. Stapleton F, Carnt N. Contact lens-related microbial keratitis: how have epidemiology and genetics helped
us with pathogenesis and prophylaxis. Eye (Lond). 2012 Feb;26(2):185-93.
6. Yeung KK, orister JF, Forister EF, Chung MY, Han S, Weissman BA. Compliance with soft contact lens replacement
schedules and associated contact lens-related ocular complications: the UCLA contact lens study. Optometry. 2010
7. Chalmers RL, Keay L, McNally J, Kern J. Multicenter casecontrol study of the role of lens materials and care products
on the development of corneal infiltrates. Optom Vis Sci. 2012 Mar;89(3):316-25