Last week the General Optical Council published the findings of research carried out by BMG Research which looks at the views and habits of over 2,000 UK contact lens wearers.

Using an online method of data collection, in October 2015 BMG Research gathered the views of 2,043 contact lens wearers who live in the UK and currently wear and buy contact lenses.

Are lenses seen as a healthcare or lifestyle product?…

The findings show that around 43% of wearers see contact lens as a healthcare product, with just as many viewing them as a lifestyle product and just 12% seeing them as a cosmetic product.

Interestingly, males are more likely to view contact lenses as a healthcare product, whereas females are more likely to view them as a lifestyle product.

Readers can interrogate the data themselves by toggling with the menu in the chart below.

Receiving aftercare advice…

In terms of aftercare, just 48% of contact lens wearers recall receiving aftercare advice at their most recent contact lens check-up. Those who have been wearing contact lenses for over 20 years and those who primarily buy their contact lens online were least likely to report that they received aftercare advice (33% and 41% respectively).

Interrogate the data with the menu in the chart below.

Awareness of aftercare advice…

The research also tested patient awareness and compliance with good practice in looking after contact lenses, measuring how many people were aware of, and comply with, the contact lens advice that is set out by the British Contact Lens Association. In summary, more than half of contact lens wearers said that they are aware of eight or more out of ten advice statements (54%), and around one third said that they are aware of between 50-79% (33%) of the statements. A smaller proportion, just 13%, said they were aware of less than half of the advice statements. Awareness varies significantly between different key groups of contact lens wearers.

You can see for yourself by interrogating the data in the chart below.

Compliance with aftercare advice…

In terms of compliance, around one third said that they comply with 80% or more of the advice statements (36%), while another third comply with between 50% and 79% (34%).  The final third comply with fewer than half the advice statements (30%). Compliance with aftercare advice also varies significantly by subgroups.

Interrogate the data below to see how compliance varies.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said that “the research reinforces the need for coordinated activity across the sector to ensure the public understands that contact lenses are a healthcare product and require diligent care. We want patients to receive and follow appropriate advice from their optician to ensure they are wearing their lenses safely and protecting their eyes.”

He also said “It is also important that registrants remember the need to provide aftercare advice to their patients, especially those who may have worn lenses for a long time and might have slipped into bad habits.”

The published report, released by the General Optical Council, can be found here

The General Optical Council press release can be found here

The General Optical Council is the industry regulator and is responsible for the optical professions. The organisation currently registers around 29,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

For more information about this research please contact Dr Michael Turner, Research Director, on 0212 333 6006 or email

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