By Martin Burns
Daily disposable contact lenses remain the most popular form of the products, according to a new study based on the responses of wearers from across the globe.
The data, published in the February issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry, shows that, after more than a decade on the market, extended-wear contact lenses are still popular among patients and eyecare professionals.
However, dailies remain by far the most popular type of contacts, with extended wear contact lenses - which can be worn continuously for up to a month - accounting for fewer than eight per cent of contact lens prescriptions.
The study, seen by Newswise, was based on analysis of worldwide prescription data, and led by Dr Nathan Efron, from Queensland University of Technology, Australia, who analysed 14 years of data on contact lens fittings by eyecare professionals in 39 countries.
They analysed trends in extended wear contact lens prescription, including patient and characteristics and fitting patterns.
The products are made of an oxygen-permeable silicone hydrogel material and first came on the market in the late 1990s, with modern versions designed to be left in the eye day and night for up to a month, without the need for daily removal and cleaning.
The data suggested that use of EW lenses peaked in 2006, when they accounted for 12 per cent of all soft contact lens prescriptions, but the rate decreased in more recent years, falling to 7.8 per cent in 2010.
According to Dr Efron, the drop in EW lens prescriptions during the mid-2000s partly reflected the introduction of silicone hydrogel lenses designed for daily use, which have become hugely popular among contact lens wearers.
However, the expert predict that extended wear contact lenses are likely to remain popular with a segment of the market that prefers reusable lenses and the benefits they provide, the authors noted.
by Adrian Galbreth