An issue we face at this practice is non-compliance in contact lens wear.
All contact lens wearing patients exhibit some degree of non-compliance with regard to contact lens wear and maintenance, even though most patients consider themselves to be complying with guidelines for lens wear and care that have been outlined to them by their contact lens specialist. This non-compliance is despite patients being aware of the risks associated with such behaviour. Non-compliance is actually a major problem in health care, with the World Health Organization reporting that only about the half the population generally follow their doctor’s orders in regards to using prescription medicines.
Consider a recent study where researchers investigated what happened if daily disposable contact lenses were stored overnight in the original blister pack (with a view to the lenses being reused the following day). Reuse of daily disposable contact lenses was considered to pose a significant risk for daily disposable contact lens wearers, mainly because these wearers are unlikely to have received proper training in cleaning and disinfection of lenses and do not use a lens case or disinfecting solutions. In addition, overnight storage in the original blister pack results in contaminated contact lenses which if used again greatly increases the risk of eye infection and loss of vision.
The key message here is that non-compliance with the recommended guidelines for the wearing and maintenance of contact lenses reduces contact lens safety and greatly increases the risk of contact lens related ocular complications. Contact lens specialists will generally adhere to the commonly quoted maxim of medical practice primum non nocere (‘first, do no harm’). However, it is essential that patients demonstrate compliance with the advice they receive from their practitioner, if this aim is to be achieved in contact lens practice.
Issues caused by non-compliance are fairly commonplace, and we treat them frequently in this practice. These can range from minor complications – such as red and sore eyes – to more serious complications such as sight-threatening eye infections.
In our practice, we spend a lot of time teaching our patients about safe use of their contact lenses to minimise instances of non-compliance and in turn, minimise the instances of infections and complications.