Discontinuation or “dropout” from contact lens (CL) wear continues to afflict the CL industry. This study was conducted to determine whether the advent of new CL materials and designs has impacted the dropout rate and the reasons for discontinuation.
Current and lapsed CL wearers residing in Canada were recruited using Facebook to take part in an on line survey investigating CL wearing experiences during 2008 to 2010 and to establish the percentage of participants who temporarily and permanently discontinued CL wear during the period surveyed.
Four thousand two hundred seven eligible surveys were received (64% female; median age 27 years). Forty percent had lapsed from lens wear for at least 4 months; however, 62% of the lapsed wearers (LWs) resumed wear. There were no differences between LWs and nonlapsed wearers (NLWs) with respect to gender; however, LWs were older, started lens wear when older, and had not worn lenses for as long as NLWs (all P<0.001). More NLWs than LWs wore silicone hydrogel CLs (49% vs. 38%, P<0.001) and more LWs than NLWs wore daily disposable lenses and hydrogel CLs (24% vs. 19% and 22% vs. 18%, respectively, P≤0.001). Primary reasons for discontinuation were discomfort (24%), dryness (20%), red eyes (7%), and expense (7%). Compliance with lens replacement was no different between LWs and NLWs (48% vs. 45%).
About 23% of those surveyed had discontinued CL wear permanently. The primary reasons for dropping out continue to be discomfort and dryness. Dropout rates were lower in silicone hydrogel wearers.