Study gives Dr. Beach nightmares: Most contact lens patients who believe they are compliant with care instructions really are not !

These are the types of studies that give me sleepless nights.    As I lay my head down on the pillow at night, I count my lucky stars that so many patients tell me they’re being compliant with my instructions for wear schedule, cleaning procedures, and replacement schedule.   Not so fast, says a recent study by the University of Texas.

According to the study, 86% of patients classified themselves as “compliant” with lens wear and care practices.    HOWEVER, when researchers looked much closer at the actual practices of these patients, they found that only 34% of patients who classified themselves as compliant actually were compliant.

Put another way (and this is what accounts for my recent sleepless nights):   64% of all patients who think they are compliant are really not compliant with wear and care practices.

The reason that scares me is because reduced compliance with contact lens care and wear instructions can result in eye infections, inflammation, corneal scarring, or possibly permanent vision loss.

At the end of the day, my colleagues and I have to do a better job working with all of our contact lens patients to build a better awareness of good wear and care practices.    These practices include:

  • Replacing lenses according to their FDA-approved schedule:  daily, 2-week, or monthly replacement
  • Not sleeping in lenses that are not approved for that type of wear
  • Properly cleaning the contact lenses with the solution prescribed by the optometrist
  • Replacing contact lens storage cases frequently
  • Washing hands prior to inserting lenses

As always, if you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Dr. Beach.