Purpose: To explore patient demographics and motivations in choosing refractive surgery (RS) or contact lenses (CL) and factors influencing their choice of practice. Methods: A questionnaire was presented to 212 RS and 115 CL patients at four RS centres and three CL centres, respectively. The authors, with consent from the clinics and patients, collected all data. No patient or clinic refused to participate in the study. Results: There was no statistical difference between RS and CL groups for gender (p = 0.28), although in both groups more females presented than males. The mean age of RS patients was 39.2 ± 10.6 years and for CL patients was 32.0 ± 12.4 years (p < 0.0001). The occupational differences between RS and CL patients were found to be significant (p < 0.0001). Primary motivations for RS or CL were cosmesis and inconvenience of CL and spectacles. The main reason why RS patients did not choose CL was due to the inconvenience, there was little difference in this whether patients had previously worn CL or not. CL patients did not choose refractive surgery due to lack of information and apprehension. RS and CL patients selected their respective centres primarily due to reputation. Conclusions: Refractive surgery appears increasingly to be a lifestyle choice, possibly based on perceptions and psychological aspects that need to be investigated. The popularity of cosmesis as a highly popular factor for RS and CL patients, together with a few patients citing minor contact lens complications suggests that contact lens clinicians may be able to hold onto patients through better management.
- Contact lenses
- Refractive surgery