FORT WORTH, Texas—Alcon has initiated a program this month to educate consumers about presbyopia, a condition that is expected to impact 123 million U.S. residents by 2020. Most ECPs know that presbyopia is the inability of the eye to focus on things up close, a natural part of aging that usually happens around age 40. However, new survey findings from Alcon show this common condition has a name people often do not recognize, symptoms they do not understand, and a lack of knowledge of vision correction options other than reading glasses that many see as inconvenient.

This month, Alcon is launching Project Presbyopia, an ongoing effort to educate consumers about how to recognize signs and symptoms of vision changes that occur after age 40, uncover more intuitive language for the condition, and motivate existing and emerging presbyopes to visit an eyecare professional to explore solutions, including multifocal contact lenses. The initiative is inspired by crowd-sourced findings and surveys of presbyopes and ECPs that uncovered the name “presbyopia” isn’t the only point of confusion for consumers.

Here are some highlights from the survey findings:
• The eye doctors surveyed report that 92 percent of their patients don’t understand what the word presbyopia means and some ECPs either avoid using the term altogether (39 percent) or use it along with other descriptive words when explaining the condition to patients (59 percent).
• While nearly half of the consumers surveyed (46 percent) say they just cope with their presbyopia and use different methods to help them see, about two-thirds (67 percent) want to stop adjusting their lives around their vision as it relates to their reading glasses.
• A majority of presbyopes surveyed (97 percent) are familiar with reading glasses as the leading correction for presbyopia. But, according to eye doctors, 65 percent of their patients were disappointed to consider wearing reading glasses when learning they have the condition.
• Every consumer surveyed owned at least one pair of reading glasses, with those who own the most pairs (11+ pairs) misplacing or losing them 45 percent of the time.
• Once becoming aware of multifocal contact lenses, just over half (59 percent) of presbyopes surveyed said they are extremely likely or very likely to make an appointment with their doctor to discuss multifocal contact lenses.

“Presbyopia is one of the most common vision conditions associated with aging, yet understanding and conveniently addressing it remains a blind spot for consumers,” said Sergio Duplan, North America region president, Alcon. “At Alcon, we take seriously our commitment to helping people see, look and feel their best. Project Presbyopia is yet another example of how we are educating patients before they visit their eye doctor while also providing ECPs with multifocal contact lens technologies to meet their
patient and practice needs.”

Alcon has been reaching consumers and ECPs with content designed to help close the awareness gap, including video content testing everyday people’s knowledge of presbyopia, its pronunciation, meaning and solutions, as well as suggestions for renaming the condition to make it easier to understand. They are also making available a 40th birthday e-card to help ECPs creatively engage their patients at the outset of symptoms in a conversation about the condition.

Through a spokesperson partnership with Dr. Susan Resnick, a New York-based optometrist, there will be media appearances to encourage people 40+ to speak with their doctors about multifocal contact lens options., including Alcon Dailies Total 1 multifocals.

Alcon partnered with cSpace in October 2018 to field a survey of 501 men and women with presbyopia living in the U.S. The objective was to better understand their awareness of the condition. Alcon also conducted a survey of 143 eyecare professionals to get their perspective about patients' awareness and understanding of presbyopia.