A survey, at the University of Manchester, has shown some interesting developments in suggested prescription lens usage by optical practitioners for their patients. The study, commissioned by Eurolens Research shows that now some 98% of new contact lens fittings were for soft lenses, and refit prescriptions were almost as high again at 95%.
Out of the brand new prescriptions for soft contact lenses, Opticians favoured silicone hydrogel, with nearly 48% of their recommendations following the trend. The replacement schedules were weighted at 52% monthly and 45% daily. The rise in disposable contacts is perhaps not surprising, yet interesting is that over a third of soft lenses prescribed were for astigmatism, and 11% of soft lenses were multifocal, for patients with presbyopia.
Least popular lens variations for optical prescriptions
Only 5% of newly fitted lenses prescribed were extended wear contacts, allowing them to be worn overnight whilst the user sleeps.
A significantly higher percentage of refits were for extended wear, perhaps indicating that opticians in the United Kingdom are moving away from prescribing longer term lenses, or at least starting new lens wearers off with simpler daily lenses. These lens types are easier to keep hygienic and allergen free, and are becoming a more affordable option.
Rigid lenses have fallen so out of favour with British opticians that they accounted for only 4% of all fits, and even filled only 5% of refits. Practitioners recommend that users switch their prescriptions to the many advantages of the more modern and popular soft lenses.
In 2010, Eurolens research found no reports in their survey of orthokeratology lenses being refitted, indicating that the method had fallen out of favour. The majority of prescriptions were for multipurpose solutions to the patients’ varying optical needs.
Why this information matters to the consumer
It pays in today’s tight fiscal climate to do your research first before visiting a professional. Knowing what trends are being followed by the majority of practitioners allows you to question if your own Optician doesn’t follow suit. This is not always a bad thing and there may be many good reasons why they have suggested such a treatment. However, armed with a knowledge of what is out there may help you understand your options.
The internet can also help the consumer make smart choices, researching brands and options online to get the best price comparisons. Additionally you will be able to question your Optician if a certain method may be more cost effective or suitable for your needs.
Contact lenses are of course a specialist subject, but a quick Google search and a few minutes reading here and there can arm you with a basic grasp of the latest trends and whether you feel you would like to be a part of them. You may not want to pay for a brand name when a traditional service may fit your daily routine better. Knowledge is key, but remember; your trained practitioner is the expert.