ABSTRACT: This two-phase survey aimed to identify the beliefs and attitudes that create a barrier towards contact lens (CL) fitting among adolescents (aged 12-18 years) and their parents attending eye care practitioner clinics in Italy (phase 1) and Iberia (Spain and Portugal; phase 2). In phase 2, the sample was further focused, by limiting it to those adolescents who did not already wear CL.
The extent to which CL satisfy aesthetic, visual, and practical needs and their effectiveness, safety, and comfort in the general population and in adolescents was rated by respondents on a 5-point Likert scale.
In phase 1, approximately one-third of adolescents (n=146) and parents (n=114) were CL wearers. Most adolescents (77.5% of 223) and parents (66.2% of 230) expressed a high interest in CL use in phase 2 despite none of the adolescents currently wearing CL. Parents, but not adolescents, perceived that CL were significantly less safe in adolescents than in the general population (p<0.05) in phases 1 and 2. Across both phases, adolescents and parents agreed that CL met an aesthetic need in adolescents (p<0.05 versus general population). Among 50% of parents (mainly mothers), significant concerns regarding CL were difficulties following instructions and taking care of the CL and potential eye damage, which, in mothers, led them to show less agreement towards CL use by the adolescent (p<0.001).
These findings highlight an essential need for improved education on CL use in the population.
Contact lens & anterior eye: the journal of the British Contact Lens Association 06/2010; 33(3):119-23.