WHO WEARS CONTACT LENSES IN THE UNITED STATES?

Title WHO WEARS CONTACT LENSES IN THE UNITED STATES?
Author, Co-Author Mark Swanson
Topic
Year
2010
Day
Wednesday
Program Number
100204
Room
Room 2004
Affiliation
University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Optometry, The Medical Center
Abstract PURPOSE: Contact lens wear remains a major component of refractive error correction. The purpose of this project is to develop estimates of the population characteristics of contact lens wearers in the United States.

METHODS: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a random probability sample representative of the US population and is one of the major data collection instruments used to evaluate the health status of the nation. Through evaluation in mobile clinics NHANES collects data on demographics, health risk factors, and health conditions including refractive error. Data from the 2005 -2008 NHANES were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics. Accounting for the complex design of the NHANES estimates of the characteristics of the US population over the age of 12 wearing contact lenses were developed. All analyses were done using SAS Survey methods (SAS v 9.2 Cary, NC) with variance estimates using the Taylor linearization method.

RESULTS: Approximately 8.0% (95% CI 7.0, 8.9) of the US population over the age of 12 wears contact lenses, equating to approximately 18.6 million persons (from a 2005-2008 population basis). Slightly less than 19% of the population needing refractive correction for distance wears contact lenses (18.7, 95% CI, 16.5, 20.9). Contact lens use is highest among teens (35.6% 95% CI 24.9, 46.3) and young adults less than 40(36.0% 95% CI 30.1 ,41.9) and decreases dramatically to 5.5% (95%CI 3.7, 7.3) over age 50. More than 75% of all contact lens wearers are white. African Americans have the lowest rate of contact lens use with Mexican Americans the highest. Almost 90% of contact lens wearers are greater than one diopter myopic and 2/3 have less than one diopter of astigmatism. Contact lenses provide excellent visual acuity for most Americans with over 75% having distance acuity 20/25 or better.

CONCLUSIONS: Contact lens wearers in the United States are overwhelmingly white, under the age of 50, and myopic with low to moderate amounts of astigmatism.
Affiliation of Co-Authors
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