Patients with astigmatism are willing to pay 50% more for a premium toric soft contact lens that offers better vision and similar comfort to spherical lenses, according to a study published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye.
Researchers included 27 individuals (mean age, 28.7 years; women, 14) with low to moderate astigmatism (−0.75 to −1.50 diopters of cylinder [DC]) and randomly assigned study participants to the spherical or toric soft contact lenses. The team recorded high contrast, low contrast, monocular, and binocular visual acuities and patients reported subjective comfort and vision scores using a 100-point visual analogue scale (0, poor; 100, excellent). After performing a series of viewing tasks and subjectively evaluating the lens, participants crossed over to the other contact lens.
Following this clinical study, researchers presented participants with a series of randomized economic scenarios to determine their willingness to pay a premium, or amount of money in addition to the cost of the spherical lens, for toric soft contact lenses. The investigators also included responses from a larger group of online respondents, who were presented with similar scenarios, to establish their willingness to pay.
Subjectively reported data shows that participants preferred the distance vision offered by the toric lenses — 80% rated their vision as better or much better with the toric lenses compared with 12% who reported better or much better vision with the spherical lenses (P =.0004). Objective data bolsters these findings and reveals visual acuity improvements between 0.6 and 1.1 lines with the toric soft contact lenses for the 4 measures of visual acuity. There were no significant differences in comfort scores between the 2 lenses (P =.37).
The willingness to pay analysis showed that patients with astigmatism were willing to pay a premium of approximately 50% over the cost of a spherical lens for better vision and similar comfort. As comfort hypothetically decreased, the participants’ willingness to pay also decreased. The study authors suggest that clinicians take the opportunity to present soft toric contact lens treatment options to their patients with astigmatism.
“Consumers are willing to pay a monthly premium of around 50% to benefit from the typical experience of better vision and similar comfort for toric vs. spherical lenses,” the researchers explain. “As typical toric market premiums are lower than this value, eye care professionals should consider that toric lenses are delivering a greater clinical return than anticipated by wearers for the relatively small increase in price.”
Study limitations include the small sample size in the clinical study and failure to consider the influence of product branding in the patient-reported preferences.
Chao C, Skidmore K, Tomiyama ES, Wolffsohn JS, Richdale K. Soft toric contact lens wear improves digital performance and vision-A randomised clinical trial. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2023;43(1):25-34. doi:10.1111/opo.13053