Rethinking contact lens aftercare

Nathan Efron, Philip B. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

The evolution of contact lens technology and clinical practice over the past three decades has been remarkable, with dramatic improvements in material biocompatibility, better lens designs and care systems, and more flexible and convenient modalities of wear. However, our approach to the aftercare examination has remained conservative, with the general modus operandi having not fully evolved from the difficult, early years of fitting non-regular replacement rigid and low water content hydrogel lenses. In this paper, we review current aftercare practice and in particular, the preferred frequency that lens wearers should return for routine visits and the appropriateness of regulations governing contact lens prescription expiry. Four key clinical reasons for conducting a routine aftercare visit are identified: preserving ocular health, maintaining good vision, optimising comfort and ensuring satisfactory lens fitting performance. Commercial reasons for conducting aftercare visits are also considered. A decision matrix is presented to help practitioners decide on an appropriate time interval between routine aftercare visits. The first aftercare visit should always take place within one to two weeks of lens dispensing. After this, the following time intervals between routine aftercare visits are advised as a general guideline: soft daily disposable, 24 months; soft daily reusable and rigid daily wear, 12 months; soft and rigid extended wear, six months. These aftercare visit frequencies may need to be adjusted when rapid rates of refractive change are anticipated, such as every six months during child/teenager myopic progression and every 12 months during the advancement of presbyopia. Numerous clinical caveats for varying these recommended aftercare frequencies are also discussed. Those new to lens wear should be seen within the first two months of lens dispensing. Regulatory authorities charged with the responsibility of stipulating the validity of a contact lens prescription should continue to allow optometrists to set an expiry date relevant to the circumstances of individual lens wearers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-431
Number of pages21
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Volume100
Issue number5
Early online date4 Sept 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • aftercare
  • comfort
  • commercial considerations
  • compliance
  • complications
  • contact lens
  • drop-out
  • lens fitting performance
  • ocular health
  • product advice
  • vision
  • visit frequency

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