Contact Lens Statistics

How many people wear contact lenses?

 

Approximately 32 million people in the United States wear contact lenses.  This is about 12 percent of the total population.1

 

 

What type of contact lenses are people wearing?

 

An estimated 87 percent of U.S. contact lens wearers wear soft lenses. Only about 13 percent wear rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses.1

 

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by lens design)

 

Over 80 percent of soft contact lenses sold in the U.S. are spherical design lenses to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness.  Approximately 13 percent are toric lenses to correct astigmatism.  Only about 5 percent are bifocal lenses to correct presbyopia.  (Many presbyopic contact lens wearers prefer monovision spherical or toric lenses as an alternative to bifocal lenses.)

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by lens design)2

 

     Spherical

82%

     Toric

13%

     Bifocal

 5%

 

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by wearing schedule)

 

Approximately80 percent of soft contact lens wearers use daily wear lenses that aredesigned to be removed and cleaned each day before sleep.  About 20 percent use extended wear lenses that are approved for overnight wear. 

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by wearing schedule)2

     Daily wear

80%

     Extended wear

20%

 

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by replacement schedule)

 

Most soft contact lens wearers use disposable lenses that are designed to be discarded after 1 to 14 days of wear.  About 30% wear planned replacement lenses that are discarded after 1-3 months of wear.  The balance wear conventional lenses that should be discarded after 6 to 12 months of wear.  (Studies show that replacing soft contact lenses more frequently reduces the risk of contact lens-related eye infections.) 

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by replacement schedule)2

     Disposable (2 weeks or less)

46%

     Planned replacement (1-3 months)

30%

     Conventional  (6-12 months)

24%

 

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by lens color)

 

Approximately 85 percent of soft contact lenses sold in the U.S. are clear or have a very faint handling tint that does not alter the wearer’s eye color.  But color contact lenses are becoming more popular.  Color lenses are available in enhancer tints to deepen your natural eye color and opaque tints to dramatically change the color of your eyes.    

 

Soft Contact Lens Wear (by lens color)2

     Clear or handling tints

85%

     Color lenses (enhancer or opaque tints)

15%

 

 

Percentage of contact lens wearers (by sex)

 

Most contact lens wearers are female.  Approximately 64 percent of soft contact lens wearers and 70 percent of rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens wearers are female.2

 

Gender:

Female

Male

Soft contact lens wearers

64%

36%

RGP contact lens wearers

70%

30%

      

 

Percentage of contact lens wearers (by age)

 

Most soft contact lens wearers are between the ages of 18 and 39.  Most rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens wearers are at least 40 years old.2

 

Age (years):

17 and under

18-25

26-39

40 and older

Soft contact lens wearers

10%

23%

45%

22%

RGP contact lens wearers

3%

10%

26%

61%

      

 

 

 

References

 

1Barr, Joseph. “Contact Lenses 2002: Annual Report.” Contact Lens Spectrum  Jan. 2003: 24-31.

2Contact Lens Council. “Statistics on Contact Lens Wear in the U.S.” 7 Nov. 2004 http://www.contactlenscouncil.com/pcon-stats.htm. (Based on 2000 data.)

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