The impact of COVID-19 on soft contact lens wear in established European and US markets.Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2022 12; 45(6):101718.CL
To characterise changes in soft contact lens wearing habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A detailed online questionnaire was circulated to individuals aged 40-70 years, during the period April to May 2021. Data sampling took place in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Only data pertaining to individuals who were soft contact lens wearers were included. Data were extracted for questions relating to contact lens wearing habits pre- and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expectations for future lens wear beyond the pandemic.
Seven-hundred and twenty-eight individuals were identified as soft contact lens wearers of which six-hundred and nineteen wore a combination of contact lenses and spectacles. Most respondents indicated contact lens wear times had either remained the same (57.3%) or increased (9.8%) during the pandemic. The country with the greatest proportion of respondents decreasing wear time during COVID-19 was the UK (45.3%), and the least in the Netherlands (20.0%). The primary cause of decreased lens wear was attributed to leaving the home less often (70.0%), and the second most common reason due to concerns about hygiene (10.8%). Most respondents (83.9%), however, expressed a desire to return to pre-pandemic wear times once the pandemic was over.
Practitioner concerns about contact lens market recovery ought to be assuaged by the survey outcomes which show most individuals to have maintained lens wear during the pandemic. In view of the continued lens wear, as and when restrictions ease, ECPs may wish to encourage patients to return for routine check-ups that may have been missed due to the pandemic.