From finding our first gray hair to feeling new aches and pains daily, our body has a way of letting us know we are getting older. Some signs of aging come barreling in like fatigue or fine lines, while others are less noticeable. In the scope of our lives, our bodies’ transformations are meaningful, and our vision is no exception.
As we age, the lenses of our eyes begin to lose their elasticity, making it difficult for the eye to change its focus and see nearby objects. This is called presbyopia.1 It typically happens to people beginning in their 40s. While presbyopia is a natural part of aging, for many it can lead to feelings of frustration, embarrassment and even helplessness.2
Why do we see this way? Well, for some of us, the thought of presbyopia conjures up images of our parents, hunched over the morning paper with reading glasses perched on the bridge of their nose. But today’s presbyopes are not their parents. Many yearn for a solution outside of reading glasses, or “readers.”
Studies show that readers can have an impact on our perceived age, and one-in-four adults say that readers can make someone appear ten years older.6 These associations have a powerful effect, often leading presbyopic patients to avoid treatment altogether.
Presbyopia and Denial: What Patients Fail to Share
We know that more than half of patients with presbyopia wait over a year before frustration leads them to visit an eye care professional (ECP).2 For patients who want to avoid readers, this waiting period increases significantly, with 60% waiting more than 3 years to seek help.2
Fortunately, with Alcon’s multifocal contact lenses, ECPs can close that waiting period and address aging-related eye care issues head on. The first step is defining what presbyopic patients really want.
Jessica Crooker, OD, sheds light on the subject. “Many individuals are unaware that multifocal contact lenses exist because they may not have worn contact lenses or glasses before. As a result, they gravitate towards the only option presented to them – over the counter readers at pharmacy or grocery store checkout counters,” Dr. Crooker explains. “If more people knew about multifocal contact lenses, more would want to wear them.”
Recent studies by Alcon support this and found many presbyopic patients are interested in contact lenses.2 For instance, roughly two-out-of-three presbyopic eyeglass wearers want to return to contact lenses, and one-out-of-three presbyopes are interested in multifocal contact lenses.2,7 Yet, a great deal are unaware of available options.8 In fact, 80% of people who were presbyopic when they stopped wearing contacts were unaware of multifocal contact lenses.8
Multifocal Contact Lenses Can Deliver Superior Outcomes
It is widely accepted that when treating presbyopic patients, ECPs overwhelmingly recommend prescription glasses, and patients adhere to this advice. By embracing multifocal contact lenses, ECPs can offer their patients more opportunities to see their best.
Dr. Crooker has experienced the benefits of fitting multifocal contact lenses firsthand. She recounts, “When I first started practicing at my office, I only saw a couple of patients a day. I spent time thinking about how to differentiate myself, and that is when I began fitting patients in Alcon multifocal contact lenses.”
After fitting Alcon multifocal contact lenses, Dr. Crooker reveals, “Multifocal contact lenses have been a key source of customers and referrals for my practice,” said Jessica Crooker, OD. “Many patients are simply unaware that there are multifocal contact lens options. So, when I introduce them to Alcon’s multifocal lenses, they’re thrilled to have their vision without having to rely on over-the-counter reading glasses.”
Addressing Presbyopia Starts with Open Dialogue
Aging can be a difficult, complex and often taboo subject. But talking openly about it — especially with a trusted ECP — can help alleviate some of its scariness. Coming to terms with the aging of our eyes is necessary and urgent. As the global population swells, projections estimate that the percentage of people ages 60 years and older will double by 2025 from 12% to 22%.10 It’s up to you, in concert with your ECP, to create an open dialogue about the presbyopic experience. Ask questions and explore new solutions. In doing so, your ECP will be more likely to match you with the right treatment, and in turn, help you achieve greater satisfaction. A win-win for everyone.
- What is Presbyopia, Cleveland Clinic, 2022
- Alcon Presbyopia Patient Journey Quant Survey. Spring 2021
- Alcon data on file, 2014
- Alcon data on file, 2014
- Statista.com. Share of adults in the United States who owned a smartphone from 2015 to 2021, by age group. [Link] Accessed June 7, 2023
- Alcon data on file, 2016
- Rueff EM, Bailey MD. Presbyopic and non-presbyopic contact lens opinions and vision correction preferences. Contact Lens Anterior Eye. 2017;40:323-328
- Alcon data on file, 2013
- Multi-Sponsor Surveys. The 2013 Gallup Study of the U.S. Multifocal Contact Lens Market. January 2014.
- Ageing and health. WHO. October 1, 2022