ODs have opportunity to educate on CLs with the more than 2 billion presbyopes expected by 2020

August 15, 2013

Presbyopia affects nearly 1.7 billion people worldwide today, and that number is expected to soar to 2.1 billion by 2020. In the United States, this population is expected to grow from nearly 111 million to approximately 123 million by 2020, representing an increase of more than 36 percent of the population within the next seven years. As a result, eye care professionals (ECP) could expect to see an increase in the number of patients experiencing vision issues due to presbyopia, according to Alcon, maker of Air Optix® Aqua multifocal contact lenses.

Despite the growing number of people worldwide with presbyopia, only 10 percent in the United States think, or know to discuss with their ECP changes in their vision that may be caused by presbyopia. ECPs must be prepared to educate patients about the condition, the need for treatment to correct presbyopia, and what vision correction options are available.

An April 2012 article published in Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today Europe, positioned presbyopia as a significant and emotional event in an adult’s life and that the vision issue represents the first sign of aging that they could not hide. The article also mentioned that many people with presbyopia feel that reading glasses made them feel old, and rather than seeking proper vision treatment, find workarounds to compensate for vision loss, such as stretching arms out to read fine print.

“Presbyopia can be frustrating and often takes people by surprise; it is unique due to its ability to affect patients who have never had vision correction needs in their life,” said Roy Kline, O.D., who practices in Glen Falls, N.Y. “Conveying that there is no need to compromise vision acuity, comfort, convenience or even appearance is an important first step in empathizing with patients, and helping them understand what vision correction options are available.”

There are many options available that provide clear, comfortable vision, without negatively impacting a person’s self-perception or appearance, such as multifocal contact lenses.
However, many presbyopic consumers are not even aware of multifocal contact lenses and that they can help correct presbyopia. In fact, only 18 percent of presbyopes in the U.S. were aware that multifocal contact lenses are a vision correction option for presbyopia.

Multifocal contact lenses are designed to help with all stages of presbyopia and may be the best option for those people with presbyopia who may prefer wearing contact lenses to correct their vision needs.

Air Optix® Aqua multifocal contact lenses are the leading multifocal contact lenses available and provide uninterrupted binocular vision near through far and outstanding all-day comfort day one through day 30.

“As eye care experts, patients rely on us to recommend a solution that corrects their vision issue,” said Victoria Dzurinko, O.D., of Bonds Eye Care in Downington, Pa. “It is important that we explain to each presbyopic patient that our ultimate goal when recommending a vision correction option is to balance their visual needs from distance to near.”

For more information on Air Optix® Aqua multifocal contact lenses, visit www.myalcon.com/products/contact-lenses/air-optix/multifocal-technology.shtml.

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