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AAOpt 2023: Keeping presbyopia patients in soft multifocal lenses


Research presented at the American Academy of Optometry 2023 meeting illustrates success in fitting presbyopia patients in soft multifocal contact lenses.

Michele Andrews, OD, vice president of professional and government affairs at CooperVision, sat down with Optometry Times' editor Kassi Jackson to highlight research on presbyopia that was presented during the 2023 American Academy of Optometry meeting held in New Orleans.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Kassi Jackson, Editor:

Hi everyone, I'm sitting down with Dr. Michelle Andrews, who is vice president of professional and government affairs at CooperVision. She's here to talk about research presented at the American Academy of Optometry. Welcome Dr. Andrews.

Michele Andrews, OD:

Thank you very much. It's great to be here.


Happy to have you. What scientific research was presented at Academy?


Sure, we had some great research this year in the area of presbyopia, as well as myopia. So we'll start with the the presbyopia topic.

We looked at a multifocal success—soft contact lens multifocal success, and the fact that wearers tend to have a higher dropout rate when they wear soft multifocals. And of course, they're looking for great comfort. And they're looking for great vision.

This research was really based in better understanding what it takes to keep people in soft multifocal lenses. And so different lens products were fit on patients. And those fits were optimized based on the fitting guide. And then they were surveyed with regard to their comfort in the lenses, their vision in the lenses, but most specifically, it was their vision and everyday tasks.

So it wasn't a visual acuity measurement only; it was how do they rate their vision in driving, when they're using a laptop, when they're texting with their phone—these real life experiences. And what the researchers found was really high percentage of positive scores for comfort, vision, and vision in everyday tasks.

And so we can draw the conclusion from that, that if we have good comfort and vision scores, that we're exceeding—or at least meeting, if not exceeding—the needs of those wearing the lenses. And so from there we can, we can make the conclusion that if a lens is comfortable, and it helps the patient see what they need to do every day, then we can minimize drop out and have effective soft multifocal lens wear. So I really think it should help ECPs feel confident about recommending and prescribing soft multifocals to their patients.

The second study that we did on presbyopia has to do with whether or not we can predict success with patients wearing multifocals at dispense.

This was a retrospective review of past studies that had been completed. And what we looked at was how satisfied that patient was with their vision at the dispense and whether or not that had any correlation with their intent to purchase. And what this study found was that the higher their vision satisfaction was at the dispense, that was highly correlated with their intent to purchase later.

So the key takeaway here, again, giving ECPs confidence and different ways to look at the success criteria that their patients are thinking about, subjective vision quality of dispense is highly likely to result in a purchase. So it's really about helping the doctors confidence and looking for those early signals to to continue with the fitting process.


Why is this important for optometrists to address and kind of know about and have at the forefront of their business practices?


You know, we have an aging population. We have a number of patients—everyone does—in their practice, who are currently wearing contact lenses for their distance vision correction and are now aging into presbyopia. These patients want to stay in contact lenses. And there is hesitancy from a number of practitioners to proactively recommend soft multifocal because they don't think they can get the vision, they don't think they can get the comfort, and they don't think the patient's going to be happy with contemporary multifocal designs.

These two studies demonstrate that we can get the comfort, we can get the visual acuity, and we can get great vision in everyday tasks. So the take home message to optometrists is really, get familiar with the products, use the fitting guides and you can keep your contact lens patients in contact lenses, even as they age into presbyopia.


Dr. Andrews, thank you so much for your time today.

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