Contact lens (CL) complications account for 2.2-10.0% of patients attending ophthalmic Accident and Emergency (A&E) units. A survey was conducted to evaluate disease severity among CL wearers attending the Oxford Eye Hospital A&E Unit. CL wearers without a medical indication for CL wear completed a short questionnaire eliciting CL type and wear schedule. Subsequently, A&E Senior House Officers indicated the diagnosis and whether, in their opinion, the patient could have been managed by their optometrist or contact lens practitioner. Approximately half of the CL wearers (321653, 49%) presented with CL related disorders, but only 16% (53321) of these had potentially sight-threatening disease. More than a third of these patients were deemed to be inappropriately attending (125321, 39%), presenting with minor problems such as corneal abrasions, CL handling difficulties and CL solution accidents . Better patient instruction, together with encouragement to consult their optometrist or contact lens practitioner first if problems occur, would greatly reduce the burden of A&E attendance by CL wearers with minor complaints.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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