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Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2013 Sep;33(5):573-80. doi: 10.1111/opo.12080. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Myopia, contact lens use and self-esteem.

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Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, USA.



To evaluate whether contact lens (CL) use was associated with self-esteem in myopic children originally enrolled in the Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET), that after 5 years continued as an observational study of myopia progression with CL use permitted.


Usable data at the 6-year visit, one year after CL use was allowed (n = 423/469, age 12-17 years), included questions on CL use, refractive error measurements and self-reported self-esteem in several areas (scholastic/athletic competence, physical appearance, social acceptance, behavioural conduct and global self-worth). Self-esteem, scored from 1 (low) to 4 (high), was measured by the Self-Perception Profile for Children in participants under 14 years or the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents, in those 14 years and older. Multiple regression analyses were used to evaluate associations between self-esteem and relevant factors identified by univariate analyses (e.g., CL use, gender, ethnicity), while adjusting for baseline self-esteem prior to CL use.


Mean (±S.D.) self-esteem scores at the 6-year visit (mean age = 15.3 ± 1.3 years; mean refractive error = -4.6 ± 1.5 D) ranged from 2.74 (± 0.76) on athletic competence to 3.33 (± 0.53) on global self-worth. CL wearers (n = 224) compared to eyeglass wearers (n = 199) were more likely to be female (p < 0.0001). Those who chose to wear CLs had higher social acceptance, athletic competence and behavioural conduct scores (p < 0.05) at baseline compared to eyeglass users. CL users continued to report higher social acceptance scores at the 6-year visit (p = 0.03), after adjusting for baseline scores and other covariates. Ethnicity was also independently associated with social acceptance in the multivariable analyses (p = 0.011); African-Americans had higher scores than Asians, Whites and Hispanics. Age and refractive error were not associated with self-esteem or CL use.


COMET participants who chose to wear CLs after 5 years of eyeglass use had higher self-esteem compared to those who remained in glasses both preceding and following CL use. This suggests that self-esteem may influence the decision to wear CLs and that CLs in turn are associated with higher self-esteem in individuals most likely to wear them.


adolescents; contact lenses; eyeglasses; myopia; self-esteem

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