Background: Significant levels of non-compliance and poor hygiene among contact lens wearers have been reported previously from different parts of the world. This survey aimed at identifying the scope of hygiene and non-compliant behaviour of soft contact lens wearers in the Maldives. Methods: Established soft lens wearers attending two eye clinics in Male' city, were interviewed in office or via telephone. A set of interviewer-administered questions was used to access the subjective response on compliance and hygiene behaviour (hand and lens case hygiene, water exposure, adherence to lens replacement schedule, dozing and overnight wear, awareness of aftercare visits and reuse of disinfecting solution). Participants were also asked to rate themselves as a contact lens user based on their perceived compliance and hygiene practices. Results: Out of 107 participants, 79 (74.8 per cent) were interviewed in the office and the rest via telephone. The majority of lens wearers were female, office workers and students, with a mean age of 20.64 ± 4.4 years. Mean duration of lens wear was 28.04 ± 8.36 months. Most of them were using spherical lenses (86.9 per cent) on a daily wear basis (96.3 per cent). Major reported forms of non-compliance were poor hand hygiene (60.7 per cent), lack of aftercare awareness (39.3 per cent), water exposure (35.5 per cent) and over-use of lenses (24.3 per cent). While females were more likely to overuse their lenses than males (p < 0.005), other socio-demographic factors were not associated with reported non-compliance. Although around 90 per cent of the participants considered themselves average or good contact lens wearers, most exhibited some form of non-compliant and poor hygienic behaviour. Conclusion: A significant number of Maldivian contact lens wearers exhibited poor levels of hygiene and compliance with contact lenses and lens care systems. An effective educational reinforcement strategy needs to be developed to modify lens wearers' non-compliance.
- Contact lens