Purpose: To evaluate the contact lens fitting preferences of Canadian optometrists over the period 2000 – 2006, to determine the trends in fitting that occur as new lens types and modalities are released into the market.
Methods: 1000 Canadian optometrists were surveyed annually over a 7 year period (2000-2006), resulting in 7000 optometrists in total being surveyed. Surveys requested information about the next 10 patients fit with contact lenses and which contact lens solutions were dispensed.
Results: 1008 surveys were returned, reporting 9766 fits. Soft contact lenses were fit to 91.3% of the patients. Of the soft fits the percentage of silicone hydrogel lenses increased from 5.4% in 2000 to 42.9% in 2006. Initially, silicone hydrogel lenses were prescribed for continuous wear exclusively. In 2004 two new daily wear silicone hydrogel lenses were introduced into the Canadian market. The proportion of silicone hydrogel lenses being fit for daily wear increased from 33.7% in 2004 to 86.1% in 2006. There was a coincidental increase in the proportion of silicone hydrogel lenses being fit for 2 weekly planned replacement and a corresponding decrease in monthly planned replacement. Canadian practitioners prescribe multipurpose solutions for the majority (87.4%) of their silicone hydrogel lens wearers.
Conclusions: Canadian optometrists fit a large proportion of their soft lens patients with silicone hydrogel lenses. New products have been embraced by the profession and a significant market share increase has been demonstrated over the 7 years of the survey.