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As contact lens research and designs progress, the number of patients who can benefit from contact lenses also increases. Consequently, 78% of eye care professionals recognize that growing their contact lens business will be integral to their practices' success and growth.1

Presbyopic patients in particular offer a considerable opportunity. For instance, almost all (93%) 35-55 year old contact lens wearers remain committed to using contacts as they transition into presbyopia.2 The majority of practitioners recognize these market dynamics, with 59% of them concluding that fitting more presbyopes is the best means for practice growth.1

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For the 20% of presbyopic patients who are in multifocal hydrogel lenses, technology upgrades offer an opportunity to improve satisfaction. Patient surveys indicate there are lifestyle demands that could be satisfied by such innovation. For instance, 54% of lens wearers report needing to wear their lenses longer than 15 hours a day.2 Likewise, nearly half of all patients cite "better appearance" as their main reason for trying contact lenses, but nearly one third say their lenses cause redness and irritation. 2 Even presbyopic patients who are pleased with the visual performance of their current lenses can be upgraded to the latest material innovation, which can deliver increased wearing time and exceptional comfort.

Continued growth in the lens segment is dependent on practitioners maintaining their current contact lens patient base. As patients age and transition into presbyopia, practitioners have to ensure they do not have experiences that cause them to drop out of contact lens wear. For instance, some patients have negative experiences with the compromised depth perception associated with monovision (currently accounting for nearly half of presbyopic lens corrections). The discomfort of dry, irritated eyes is another potential problem associated with contact lens wear, and lens dryness is the most prevalent condition currently experienced by four in ten (41%) wearers 35-55 years of age.2 Addressing these issues may help reduce dropouts, which will help improve overall practice success.

Finally, the presbyopic market offers a broad base of new contact lens prospects, drawing from spectacle wearers and emmetropes. Recognizing and capitalizing on these untapped markets can increase patient satisfaction through enhanced convenience and "natural" vision, boosting practice growth.

1 May 2005 Review of Optometry (survey of 1069 eye care practitioners).

2 Results from the 2005 Gallup study of the consumer contact lens market.