Contact Lens Facts And Statistics in 2022

by Nancy Hammond, M.D
by Nancy Hammond, M.D
by Kirsten Nunez
by Kirsten Nunez

Whether you’re an athlete, an actor, or just someone who doesn’t like the appearance of eye glasses, contact lenses can be incredibly useful. 

Contact lenses are a convenient alternative to glasses, and can be worn by people who wish to alter their natural eye color, making them a versatile product and appealing to a wide range of consumers.

We’ve collected data to create this comprehensive resource on everything you need to know about contact lenses facts and statistics today.


Key Takeaways

Number of adults wearing contact lenses in the United States

This statistic shows the number of adults wearing contact lenses in the United States from 2001 to 2022. As of May 2022, about 46.2 million consumers in the U.S. use contact lenses.

For the most part, a majority of contact lens wearers – 19.7 million wear lenses all day, but not while sleeping. That’s up 41% over the past 13 years. 

We have about 11 million users wearing contact lenses all day, including while sleeping. That’s also up significantly. 

But the biggest increase is in occasional users just wearing them for specific functions. That’s up by about 67%
over the past 13 years. 

Contact Lens Usage by Age

Contact lens usage drops off dramatically after age 40, while the need for vision correction steadily increases. What's behind this age-related pattern in contact lens use? Two reasons seem likely.

The first reason is because, people who are age 50 or older are less likely to have worn contact lenses.

This usually happens because they begin needing vision correction.

The second reason, in a word, is dropouts.

Before age 40, patients stop wearing contact lenses mostly because of comfort issues.

After age 40, dropouts are often the result of comfort and vision issues.

Contact Lens Materials

The first choice when considering contact lenses is which lens material will best satisfy your needs. There are five types of contact lenses, based on type of lens material they are made of.

Soft lenses are made from gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels.

Silicone hydrogel lenses are an advanced type of soft contact lenses that are more porous than regular hydrogel lenses and allow even more oxygen to reach the cornea.

Gas permeable lenses are rigid contact lenses that look and feel like PMMA lenses (see below) but are porous and allow oxygen to pass through them.

Soft lenses are made from gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels.

Hybrid contact lenses are designed to provide wearing comfort that rivals soft or silicone hydrogel lenses, combined with the crystal-clear optics of gas permeable lenses.

Contact Lens Design Insights

Based on designs, the contact lenses industry is segmented into multifocal, spherical, toric, and others, including orthokeratology or ortho-k lenses.

The multifocal lenses segment is expected to witness moderate demand due to the ability of these lenses to incorporate multiple prescriptions.

They are primarily used for treating age-related ophthalmic disorders such as presbyopia. It offers a variety of benefits, such as improved visual acuity for users that need to incorporate multiple prescriptions in a single lens

The preference for daily disposable lenses has been rising because a new set of lenses provides greater comfort to the user.

Hence, many players have initiated the development of daily disposable lenses. These lenses are considered the healthiest contact lenses by most users.

Eye care professionals are also prescribing daily disposable lenses as they avoid problems associated with longer lens replacements.

Contact Lens Usage by Age and Gender

This statistic shows the distribution of contact lens wearers in the U.S. in 2022, by age and gender.

Based on the latest data and research we’ve done, around 69.3 percent of contact lens wearers aged 18 to 24 years were females.

While the rest of people or specifically 30.7 percent were males.

Frequently Asked Questions

The maximum time that any lens has been approved to wear continuously is 30 days. You should never wear a lens longer than that. If you have to sleep in your lenses, most eye doctors will encourage you to take them out as often as possible, or at least once per week.

Disposable lenses will generally last between one day to one month, while hard lenses (RGP and PMMA) can last up to one year or longer. You can start using contact lenses right away with approval and a prescription from your eye doctor.

No matter what type of contact lenses you opt to buy, you should be able to wear your contact lenses every day. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and you may not be able to wear your contacts every day if you are: Experiencing eye redness, dryness, or irritation.

It is not safe to sleep while wearing contact lenses. According to experts, sleeping with contacts increases your risk for a corneal infection, which is an infection of the clear layer protecting the colored part of your eye.

Hold your eyelids open by using the middle finger of your non-dominant hand to pull up on the upper lid and the middle finger of your dominant hand to pull down on your lower lid. Look upward and use the index finger of your dominant hand to gently touch the bottom of the contact lens.

While contact lenses are now more comfortable than ever, some users will experience discomfort when wearing them. The good news, however, is that eye discomfort due to contact lens wear can be easily remedied and isn’t normal.