COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new study shows that patients who wear contact lenses overwhelmingly prefer disposable extended-wear contacts to disposable daily-wear lenses.
Researchers at Ohio State University asked 50 patients to compare the two modes of contact lens wear. Almost twice as many patients (31, or 65 percent) preferred the disposable extended wear lenses, compared to those who (17, or 35 percent) favored the daily disposable contacts. Two of the patients did not report a preference. The subjects reported no differences in vision, comfort, eye health or ease of handling the two types of lenses.
"Patient preference boiled down to convenience," said Jason Nichols, a study co-author and a research associate in optometry at Ohio State. "Patients can wear extended-wear lenses up to seven days straight - these lenses reduce the hassle of dealing with contact lenses every day.
"Convenience aside, extended wear contacts also offer the most permanent mode of visual correction next to surgery."
The research appears in a recent issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science.
While all subjects had worn either conventional soft or gas permeable contact lenses prior to the study, none had worn the daily disposable or extended wear types. The patients wore each type of lenses for a period of 30 days per lens type. At the end of the 60-day study, the researchers asked the patients which type of lens they preferred.
The researchers asked patients to wear the disposable daily contacts every day and for as many hours a day as possible, and the extended-wear lenses continuously for seven days and six nights. The patients were instructed to go without the lenses on the seventh night. The Food and Drug Administration has approved disposable extended-wear lenses for up to seven days of wearing, Nichols said.
The researchers evaluated each patient five times during the study: at the beginning of the study; once at the end of the disposable daily-wear mode; and on the first, tenth and thirtieth day of wearing the extended-wear lenses. At day 60, patients were asked which mode of lens wear they preferred and why. They chose the most important reason from five possible responses: comfort, visual acuity, ease of handling, eye health and convenience.
"Convenience was the only reason why the majority of patients in the study preferred the disposable extended-wear contacts," Nichols said.
"For years patients were told not to wear contact lenses overnight - the lenses simply wouldn't let enough air reach the eye," he said. But today's lenses are constructed to let more air flow to the cornea.
"The ideal candidate for extended daily-wear contact lenses already wears a daily lens of some sort," Nichols said. People who wouldn't benefit from these lenses include those with strong astigmatism, bifocal needs and patients with ocular disease.
"The extended wear of lenses is a viable option for patients who are interested in surgery, but aren't quite ready for it," Nichols said.
Vistakon, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., supplied the contact lenses for this study. Vistakon, which is located in Jacksonville, Fla., is a maker of extended-wear contact lenses.
Nichols co-authored the study with G. Lynn Mitchell, a statistician with Ohio State's College of Optometry, and Karla Zadnik, an associate professor of optometry at Ohio State.