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T. H. Bui, H. D. Cavanagh, D. M. Robertson; Compliance, Perception and Awareness of Risk in an Established Contact Lens Wearing Population. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):1514.
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Patient compliance with contact lens wear is a significant risk factor for microbial keratitis and adverse contact-lens related events. Despite advancements in lens designs and care solutions, contact lens non-compliance continues to hinder efforts to improve contact lens safety. The objective of this study was to assess patient compliance, perceptions and awareness of risk associated with contact lenses among established contact lens wearers in an optometry clinic in a large urban medical center.
The study design was a three-month, prospective study to evaluate patient compliance with contact lens wearing schedules and lens hygiene practices. 162 established contact lens patients were evaluated following their routine contact lens exam at the Optometry Clinic at the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Texas. Each patient was asked a total of 26 questions for information on their lens care practices and general knowledge on the use of contact lenses and potential risks associated with lens wear.
54 males and 108 females with a mean of 17.7 ± 12.5 years of contact lens wear were assessed in this study. 86.4% of patients surveyed perceived themselves as compliant with their prescribed lens care regimes; 40.7% reported a positive history for some form of contact lens-related complication. 79.6% of patients reported an awareness of risk factors associated with lens wear; despite awareness, 14.2% admitted to sleeping in lenses, 29.0% reported wearing lenses longer than recommended, 24.1% replacing lenses less frequently, 27.8% to swimming with contact lenses, and 6.8% to regularly topping off care solutions with an additional 3.1% reporting topping off on an occasional basis. When asked about behaviors that reduce risk, 22.2% did not replace their lens cases and 6.7% do not wash their hands.
Taken together, the results of this study demonstrate that despite perceived compliance and awareness of risk factors, a large proportion of patients exhibit risky behaviors. Extrapolation of these numbers over the entire contact lens wearing population may explain in part the persistent incidence of infection associated with lens wear.
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