Global contact lens wear and purchase behaviour during COVID-19 times
Anna Sulley, Ben Terrell, Amanda Bogers, Abigail Pursey, Daniela Lipkin
Background: COVID-19 has had an unprecedented global impact, including on contact lens (CL) practice. A survey was conducted with CL wearers to understand the effect on usage and wear behaviour changes during the pandemic.
Method: A pulse survey was conducted from April 2020; 60 wearers (18-55 years) were surveyed weekly online in China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, USA, UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Germany* and France* (*3rd/4th week) by an independent market research company (Verve). Surveys are continuing in May/June; data presented will show attitudes over time and between countries as controls are lifted.
Results: A total of 2399 wearer surveys were completed in 11 countries during April. Results here are combined and averaged across countries for the four weekly waves. 53% were 18-34 years, 46% 35-54 years; 57% female. The majority (67%) were staying at home. 80% agreed (strongly/slightly) CLs were essential to everyday life although 50% agreed they view them as luxury item. 61% agreed they only wear CLs when not at home (work, activities, socialising). Mean number days worn/month: pre-pandemic 20; during 14 (p<0.05); expected post-pandemic 19. 75% historically wore CLs most of the day; 52% (p<0.05) during; 70% expect to return to pre-pandemic wear. Key reasons for wearing CLs less were giving eyes a break (34%), concerns over hygiene/CV-19 (34%) and not currently leaving home (work/activities 29%; socialising 25%). CL-buying frequency is minimally impacted to date and is expected to return to normal levels.
Conclusions: This large-scale global survey highlights that while CL use has decreased, due to different wear needs and hygiene concerns, most wearers intend to return to pre-pandemic usage. Purchasing frequency has been minimally impacted. These insights help ECPs consider ways to support wearers during and post-pandemic with tips on lens wear/care and easy options for product availability to help maintain their CL business.
1st Author Biography: Anna Sulley graduated as from Aston University and worked in private practice before moving to Visioncare Research Ltd as a clinical investigator. She joined Johnson and Johnson Vision Care in 2000 where she was UK Professional Affairs Manager until 2004. After some years dividing her time between private practice, medical writing, clinical research and consultancy to the contact lens industry, Anna worked at Johnson and Johnson Vision from 2009 for Global Medical Affairs until 2018. Anna joined CooperVision in 2019 as Director Global Medical Affairs. She is a Fellow of the BCLA and AAO, and Past President of the BCLA.
*Data correct at the time of submission to BCLA by NCC.