Optometrists in Spain report a high perception of both opportunities and threats concerning future contact lens practice, according to research published in the Journal of Optometry

Researchers distributed a questionnaire to eye care practitioners (ECPs) around the world between 2019 and 2020. The questionnaire included 9, 5 and 12 questions concerning opportunities, interventions and threats with regards to contact lens practice, respectively. 

Of the 2408 responses, a total of 436 responses were obtained from ECPs from Spain. All respondents from Spain were optometrists (mean age, 42.2±10.4 years; 61.9% women, with an average 20.8±24.4 years of contact lens experience. A majority of ECPs (93.9%) worked in optometry practices including local retail chains (4.3%), independent practices (70.9%), regional retail chains (18.5%), university settings (4.6%), and hospitals (1.1%). Less than 1% reported working for industry or cooperative practices. Responses from clinicians from Spain were compared with responses from practitioners from other regions.


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Overall, significant differences were noted between ECPs from Spain and the rest of the world regarding opportunities for future contact lens practice (P =.02). Practitioners from Spain perceived daily disposable contact lenses for conventional use and multifocal contact lenses for presbyopia treatment as the most promising applications while reporting irregular cornea management as a less promising development. 

Optometrist from Spain reported a greater perception of threats compared with practitioners from other nations and included a lack of regulatory oversight, the online availability of contact lenses without professional supervision, and the availability of contact lenses via digital devices as the biggest threats to contact lens practice. Perceived threats differed significantly among optometric practice types (P =.039), with clinicians employed in university settings reporting a lower perception of threats than those working in private or retail chains.

“Multifocal contact lenses for presbyopes, myopia control contact lenses, daily disposable soft contact lenses for occasional lens wear, and biocompatible materials to improve comfort were reported as the major opportunities by Spanish and ECPs worldwide,” according to the researchers. “Lack of regulation, contact lenses being available online without ECPs supervision, and contact lens prescriptions being available via digital devices were reported as the most concerning threats by Spanish practitioners as well as by those from the other regions of the world.”

This study may have been limited by potential bias, due to the possibility that practitioners with more interest in contact lens practice were more likely to respond to the questionnaire. 

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of author’s disclosures. 

Reference

Martínez-Pérez C, Villa-Collar C, Santodomingo-Rubido J, Shinde L, Thite N, Wolffsohn JS. Opportunities and threats to contact lens practice in Spain. J Optom. Published online July 9, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.optom.2022.06.002