Contact lens trial conversion in a UK survey – The dynamics between those who try and those who buy

Contact lens trial conversion - The dynamics between those who try and those who buy


M McParland, Z Bull, A Pursey, A Sulley


Purpose: Retention with contact lens (CL) wear is around 3 in 4 new wearers, with many stopping during the first 2 months; key factors for lapsing are handling, comfort and vision. To identify key factors that influence becoming a CL wearer, we investigated likelihood to purchase CLs following a trial.

Method: A quantitative online research survey was conducted with neophytes in UK who had a CL trial within the last 5 years. They were questioned on motivation to wear CLs and trial experience. Comparisons were made between convertors and non-converters to CLs.

Results: Of the 522 CL triallists (91% female, 8% 18-34 years, 32% 35-54 years, 60% aged 55+), 292 purchased (56%), and of these, 31% continued to wear CLs. For those who trialled within one year, 65 (60%) purchased and 42% were still wearing CLs. Those who converted were motivated by having a new look (26%), CL convenience (21%) and playing sport (12%). The opportunity to trial CLs was a key factor in conversion, and 83% were satisfied with the trial experience. Non converters were more passive about wearing CLs, often had a poor experience with staff, and expectations were often not met, particularly with handling and insertion/removal instruction. The key barrier to purchase was handling (48%); while 50% asked their ECP for more support, 10% asked friends and 38% didn’t seek any help. 60% non-converters decided within days to cease wear.

Conclusions: Many consumers trial CLs but never become a wearer; for every 10 who trial only 3 become committed CL wearers. Those highly motivated are more likely to succeed and an opportunity to trial CLs is a key factor in subsequent purchase. Providing good clear instruction on handling is critical, along with regular contact after the trial to help motivate continuing wear.

1st Author Biography: Marcella graduated as an optometrist from Manchester University in 1986 and has worked in  private practice and hospital based settings in the UK and New Zealand.  She is passionate about education, leading a number of educational and digital initiatives across EMEA for CooperVision. Marcella has authored clinical articles and presented at European and  International conferences. She is Past President of the BCLA, and holds fellowships for American Academy of Optometry, International Association of Contact Lens Educators and the British Contact Lens Association. Her current interests are in silicone hydrogel materials, CL retention and myopia management.

*Data correct at the time of submission to BCLA by NCC.