To evaluate the content, sources, and quality of contact lens (CL)-related videos on TikTok, the fastest growing social media platform worldwide.
TikTok was queried on October 25, 2021 for the top 200 posts with the hashtag “#contactlenses.” Posts meeting inclusion criteria were characterized and assessed for quality with DISCERN, a validated scoring instrument for the appraisal of consumer health information (score range 1–5 with a higher score indicating a higher quality video).
The included 113 posts showed a mean quality of 1.94±0.44. Content included product displays (42%), patient experiences (23%), educational (22%), and comedy (12%). Most product displays featured decorative lenses (98%). Although videos by eye-care providers (ECPs) accounted for most educational content (52%) and showed significantly higher mean quality compared with posts by non-ECPs (2.57±0.18 vs. 1.85±0.13, P<0.001), they were a minority (12%) and showed poor overall quality. Contact lens representation was greatly skewed toward decorative lenses (74%), whereas only 3.5% of videos promoted seeing an ECP.
Poor quality and skewed representation of posts indicate that CL-related information on TikTok has serious shortcomings. These findings are particularly concerning given that most TikTok users are adolescents and young adults, the same population who tend to be decorative lens wearers and who are at increased risk of CL-related complications. Eye-care providers, professional organizations, and regulatory agencies should be urged to increase their engagement with the platform, especially regarding educational content creation and CL marketing oversight.