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AMO launches cleaning education campaign for contact lens wearers

Advanced Medical Optics : 16 October, 2007  (New Product)
Advanced Medical Optics has launched of a global education campaign designed to educate contact lens wearers about proper lens cleaning techniques.
The goal of AMO's Elevate Your Eye (EYE) Care campaign is to help patients maximise the benefits of contact lens wear while minimising the likelihood of infection. The EYE Care campaign features MTV reality show star Lauren Conrad as a spokesperson and was launched in response to concerns that contact lens wearers may not be practicing healthy lens care habits.

A recent national survey in the USA found more than 11 million of the 35 million contact lens wearers in the USA are not practicing proper contact lens care techniques and are putting themselves at daily risk for eye infections.

'This survey underscores the significant disconnect between eye care professionals and their patients when it comes to contact lens care,' said David W Hansen, OD, FAAO, director, professional services at AMO. 'Eleven million non-compliant contact lens wearers is too high of a number to ignore. Through the EYE Care campaign, we are partnering with eye care professionals to help patients understand the simple steps to keep their eyes healthy and free from infection, including the importance of using a solution with a rub and rinse regimen.'

The Contact Lens Council (CLC) carried out the study. The CLC is a non-profit organization and resource on vision correction. Among other findings, the study found that more than 70 percent of eye care professionals (ECPs) surveyed cited that the main barrier to compliance is the patient's belief that a contact lens cleaning regimen is unimportant. The CLC survey data also shows there are significant attitudinal differences with respect to proper lens care between doctors and patients, and that many contact lens wearers do not practice proper lens care technique.

Other findings included:

- Although more than 90 percent of ECPs recommended rubbing contact lenses as part of their lens cleaning regimen, only two thirds of patients do so, regardless of the type of solution that they use.

- More than 44 percent of contact lens wearers always or occasionally top off their contact lens case with new solution rather than emptying and cleaning it out after each use - a practice strongly discouraged by ECPs.

- Only 46 percent of the respondents clean their lens case after each use despite the fact that the majority of ECPs (71 percent) recommend patients clean their case after each use.

- The majority of ECPs (70 percent) state that the main barrier to compliance is that the patient believes that it is not important.

- Nearly half (49 percent) of contact lens wearers wear their contacts longer than the recommended replacement schedule.

- Almost one in five wear their contact lenses more than a month longer than the recommended replacement schedule.

Adding to the impact of these findings is an article published in The Review of Optometry titled ‘Infected with the Truth’ which found that up to 80 percent of patients do not fully comply with their ECP's lens care instructions.

'These research results are significant because they reveal a need to educate patients about going 'back to basics' on contact lens care and reinforce the importance of the 'rub-and-rinse' technique,' said Joseph Shovlin, OD, FAAO, a private practice optometrist based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA. 'As an eye care professional, it is important that we remind patients that contact lenses and lens solutions are medical products and should be cared for according to doctor-recommended guidelines.'

According to Simmons Market Research, nearly half of all contact lens wearers fall between the ages of 18 to 34 years old. The support of Conrad, a contact lens wearer herself, was enlisted to reach this important demographic and encourage them to work closely with their eye care professional to determine the best contact lens solution for them.

'Many contact lens wearers think of their lenses as beauty products or fashion accessories,' said Conrad. 'However, it's important to understand that contact lenses are actually medical products, and they should be treated that way.' Conrad continued: 'I'm playing an important role in helping contact lens wearers keep their eyes healthy because sometimes it's easier to hear information from a peer, someone who they can relate to.'
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