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New evidence dispels common myths about fitting soft contact lenses

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A new peer-reviewed paper published in an Australian journal examining the top 10 myths about fitting soft contact lenses offers evidence to dispel common misconceptions held by eyecare practitioners.

Researchers at the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo are seeking to shift persistent views about contact lenses that are no longer accurate based on current evidence.

‘Addressing common myths and misconceptions in soft contact lens practice’, co-authored by CORE’s director Professor Lyndon Jones and colleagues Karen Walsh and Kurt Moody, has been published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry, the official journal of Optometry Australia, the New Zealand Association of Optometrists, and the Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists.

The paper offers contemporary evidence that challenges 10 legacy perspectives held by eyecare practitioners, which can prevent optimal patient care and business success.

Jones reflects on a variety of common myths and mistruths around the fitting and wearing of contact lenses that Australian Emeritus Professor Nathan Efron explored in 1992.

Professor Lyndon Jones

“Remarkably, three decades later, more than half of the current misconceptions we’ve identified were also acknowledged in those original papers,” Jones said.

“While there has been extraordinary technological and clinical progress over that same time, it has proven more difficult to shake off some long-held incorrect views and established clinical practices.”

The authors grouped the top 10 present-day myths into three broad categories – contact lenses and care systems, patient-related concerns, and business focused barriers – then reviewed each with clear evidence-based data and practical guidance.

The top 10 myths are grouped into three broad categories – contact lenses and care systems, patient-related concerns, and business focused barriers.

Evidence was available to debunk nine of the 10 beliefs, opening the door for eyecare practitioners to recommend and successfully fit contact lenses to a wide range of patients, from children through to seniors, using all soft lens material types and replacement frequency options.

Jones and colleagues’ literature review also demonstrates the business benefits of contact lens practice through proactive recommendation and paying attention to factors that drive successful wear and reduce drop out.

The authors found that while the remaining belief that non-compliance leads to an increased risk of complications holds true, the evidence-base highlights many factors that are modifiable and within the scope of the eyecare practitioner to help mitigate such risk. These include appropriate lens recommendations, such as daily disposables, and educating wearers to encourage good wear and care practice adherence.

In closing, the authors note that “practitioners have an ever-increasing range of contact lens designs and materials across different replacement frequencies to offer patients interested in becoming contact lens wearers and to then maintain them successfully in contact lenses over many years.”

“Ensuring clinical practice follows the evidence base, which will change over time, is the most appropriate way to help many more patients access the benefits of contact lenses,” they wrote.

The paper was supported through an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson Vision.

Members of the eyecare community can download the complete publication at no cost via Open Access.

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