In the U.S. today, 104 million people are between 40 and 64 years old1.  About 33% of patients in U.S. eye care practices are presbyopic2, and by 2050, the number of presbyopic patients is expected to nearly double3. The number of presbyopic contact lens wearers, however, is only one-tenth the number of spherical contact lens wearers4.  Herein lays the growth opportunity to fit more presbyopes in your practice with contact lenses. 


Research suggests that contact lenses won’t be a difficult sell to your presbyopic patients. According to a 2008 Gallup poll, more than six in 10 adults between the ages of 35 and 49 who wear contact lenses and eight in 10 lens wearers over the age of 50 say that they are interested in bifocal or multifocal contact lenses5.  In addition, Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1964) are actually the wealthiest generation in U.S. history, which allows them more disposable income to invest in their health and appearance.6 


Fitting more presbyopes with contact lenses requires firstly a practitioner decision to be proactive with this age group.  Next, discuss the benefits of contact lenses with every possible candidate and obtain a detailed understanding of the patient’s lifestyle and visual demands.  Naturally the decision to offer lenses should be because the patient’s “visual lifestyle” will be enhanced, i.e. they regularly are in situations where contact lenses will offer a clear advantage over spectacles.


On the clinical side, be familiar with the main contact lens options and develop a systematic approach that is designed to maximize success while keeping chair-time to acceptable levels.  There will be more challenges than with pre-presbyopes and both parties need to understand this at the outset.  In some cases, the ideal solution will be spectacles with contact lenses used part-time for specific activities. 


In the past, there have been very limited options in multifocal designs made from silicone hydrogel materials.  However, now CooperVision offers clariti 1 day multifocal contact lenses – which are actually the only silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses available for presbyopia.  With high oxygen transmissibility, high water content and a low modulus, clariti 1 day multifocal are a great choice for offering your presbyopes optimal comfort, health and convenience. 


Keeping your presbyopic patients happy and comfortable in multifocal contact lenses can bring significant growth to your practice, so don’t let this opportunity go untapped.


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  1. U.S. Census Bureau
  2. 2010 SIS International Research Multifocal Study (commissioned by CooperVision)
  3. Holden BA, et al. Global vision impairment due to uncorrected presbyopia. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(12):1731-1739.
  4. Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses, 4/7/10
  5. Multi-Sponsor Survey’s 2008 Gallup Study of the Consumer Contact Lens Market. 2008. 
  6. U.S. News & World Report, 11/21/08