A new, comprehensive report from the Contact Lens Institute (CLI) indicates that the eye care community has a significant yet largely untapped upside opportunity by prescribing both contact lenses and glasses. “Double Duty: The Patient & Practice Potential of Dual Contact Lens & Glasses Wear” is now available for online reading or download from ContactLensInstitute.org.
The latest CLI See Tomorrow series report draws from recently conducted custom research with more than 2,000 prescription vision-corrected U.S. adults, combined with insights from more than a dozen of the country’s leading eye care professionals. It also includes previously unpublished data from The Vision Council, with whom CLI is partnering to extend the study’s reach.
“Having an industry association with our specific focus advance glasses prescribing—in conjunction with increased contact lens wear, of course—may be unexpected. But we firmly believe that the greatest potential for consumer satisfaction and professional success has a foundation in holistic eye care,” write CLI Executive Director Stan Rogaski and CLI Board Chair Michele Andrews, OD, in the report’s opening letter. “While some of the findings affirm what we have long suspected, and others are surprising, all contribute toward a more informed and effective community of eye care professionals.
Expanding on data first previewed on the 2023 Vision Expo East Innovation Stage, CLI quantifies latent demand for dual wear among current glasses and contact lens users—more than one in three patients (36%)—and explores why consumers define choice as a strongly compelling proposition. This includes deep dives with accompanying infographic illustrations into situational wear by activity, time of day, and day of the week.
For the first time, CLI isolates the demographics of dual wearers, including employment status, household income, education, gender, and vision insurance coverage. The findings also offer an understanding of what prompts a dual wearer to choose contact lenses or glasses, with convenience scoring high for both types of vision correction (31% and 37%, respectively). Details surrounding self-confidence, quality of vision, physical activities, fashion, and comfort elements are also conveyed.
The largely overlooked importance of trial stands out within the research. Among glasses-only wearers, contact lens trials are largely underutilized. 32% of that patient population said that a free trial would increase their consideration. Yet among the subset who reported that contact lenses were discussed at their most recent exam, only 10% were subsequently offered trials of any type. Among contact lens-only wearers, when glasses were discussed during an exam, only one in three were offered the chance to look at glasses in the office.
Columns authored by 2023 Contact Lens Institute Visionaries are placed throughout the publication, each offering examples of how to transform the report data into high-potential practice management behaviors. Many center on engaging in more productive exam lane conversations, extending those to all staff who interact with patients prior to, during, and after their visit.
“Our profession has inadvertently made glasses and contacts an ‘either-or’ selection, when the real choice lies in having the ability to pick between the two on any given day and time to suit ever-changing environments. CLI hopes the eye care community will embrace this new research, share the insights among one another, and consider how dual wear can provide a better experience for practice and patient alike,” said Dr. Andrews.
The Contact Lens Institute advances the latest innovations in safe and effective contact lens and lens care products and services that provide unique benefits to patients while satisfying the evolving needs of eye care professionals. CLI undertakes activities that properly assess, enhance, promote and balance contact lens and lens care industry welfare and growth, including the safe use of products in the marketplace. Its members include Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson Vision. For more information, visit contactlensinstitute.org.