This article provides a brief overview of the current understanding of the factors that influence CLD, the impact of contact lens wear on ocular surface sensitivity and management strategies that a practitioner can adopt to minimize contact lens discomfort.
It is estimated that there are more than 140 million contact lens wearers worldwide, with approximately 44 million in the United States alone.1 A recent report offers encouraging news that the current contact lens market is healthy, estimated at approximately $7.6 billion globally—$2.5 billion of which is in the United States.1 Despite this healthy trend, one of the major issues related to contact lens wear is dropout, largely due to contact lens discomfort (CLD).
Dr. Dexter's Take
Ocular discomfort secondary to the use of contact lenses is something that a large percentage of our patients experience. These symptoms include contact lens associated dryness, scratchiness, watery sensation, blurred vision, light sensitivity, itchiness, tiredness, excessive blinking, burning, etc. If these symptoms persist, many patients will eventually decrease their wear time of contact lenses and may even completely drop-out of wearing contacts all together.
There are many factors that lead to contact lens discomfort including contact lens-related factors, patient related factors (both modifiable and non-modifiable), and ocular surface factors. The article below, featured in Review of Optometry, reviews the symptoms, causes, and potential management options for patients dealing with contact lens discomfort. I personally see many patients on a daily basis that present with these contact lens-related symptoms, so it is very important to be able to work through the factors and understand ways to modify contact lens management in these patients so that they remain healthy and happy in contact lenses!