A majority of contact lens wearers opted to maintain their wearing habits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. 

Researchers conducted an analysis of the wearing habits of 728 contact lens wearers (age range, 40-70 years) from April to May 2021. They administered a nonvalidated questionnaire to determine changes in contact lens wear during the pandemic, understand the reasons behind such changes, and establish a potential association between age, gender, and country of residence and these changes. A total of 619 participants reported wearing a combination of spectacle and contact lenses. 

Overall, 57.3% of the cohort reported no change in wearing habits resulting from the pandemic, 33.3% stated that their contact lens wear decreased, and 9.8% increased contact lens wear. Stratified by age, older patients (age 60-70 years) were more likely to decrease contact lens usage compared with younger members (age 40-59) (~50% vs ~40%). Country of residence also affected wearing habits with individuals in the UK most likely to reduce wearing time (45.3%) and those residing in the Netherlands least likely to change (20.0%).   


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Among those reporting a decrease in contact lens wear, 70% stated that they reduced wear because they left home less often and 10.8% cited hygiene concerns. A total of 83.9% of the cohort stated that they would return to normal wearing habits post pandemic. 

“In the near future, a multitude of factors could influence eye care practice and demand for services,” according to the report. “An indication that many respondents who decreased lens wear during the pandemic also expressed a desire to return to pre-pandemic wearing levels, offers a positive signal to those concerned about market recovery prospects.”

Study limitations include the potential for recall bias, short study duration, and failure to include individuals younger than 40 years. 

Disclosure: This research was supported by Menicon Co., Ltd. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 

Reference

Nagra M, Retallic N, Naroo SA. The impact of COVID-19 on soft contact lens wear in established European and US markets. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. Published online May 23, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2022.101718