ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Survey Reveals Americans with Astigmatism Are Uninformed about Contact Lens Benefits

American National Standards promote contact lens use to correct many vision problems

New York, Mar 12, 2009

A recent survey conducted by an independent marketing research firm revealed that many Americans are misinformed about the possibility of correcting astigmatism with contact lenses. Bausch & Lomb, a company member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), sponsored the survey, which indicated that four out of ten people with astigmatism mistakenly believe that because they have astigmatism, they cannot wear contact lenses.

Specially designed contacts lenses are, in fact, able to correct many cases of astigmatism, including those that are considered severe. Yet two-thirds of astigmats surveyed who have never worn contact lenses say they would be highly motivated to wear lenses if they were available to correct astigmatism. Further education about the possible effectiveness of contact lenses for treating astigmatism will provide people with greater options for correcting their vision problems.

Whether used for astigmatism, near-sidedness, or far-sidedness, contact lenses are an important everyday presence in the lives of many vision-impaired consumers. A number of American National Standards (ANS) are in place to assure the performance and specifications of these medical devices.

Two such ANS are:

  • ANSI Z80.18-2003, Contact Lens Care Products: Vocabulary, Performance, Specifications, and Test Methodology

  • ANSI Z80.20-2004, Ophthalmics - Contact Lenses - Standard Terminology, Tolerances, Measurements, and Physicochemical Properties

These standards, developed by the Z80 ANSI-accredited Standards Committee, apply to both hard and soft lenses. The Vision Council serves as the Z80 committee secretariat/administrative organization.

International standards also provide guidelines for the safety and performance of contact lenses and related products such as rinsing solutions. Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), these standards include:

  • ISO 13212:1999, Ophthalmic optics -- Contact lens care products -- Guidelines for determination of shelf-life

  • ISO 11980:1997, Ophthalmic optics -- Contact lenses and contact lens care products -- Guidance for clinical investigations

  • ISO 11986:1999, Ophthalmic optics -- Contact lenses and contact lens care products -- Guidelines for determination of preservative uptake and release

These and additional standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 172, Optics and photonics, Subcommittee (SC) 7, Ophthalmic optics and instruments. The ANSI-accredited Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to this TC and SC is the Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

For more information on the Bausch & Lomb survey on contact lenses for astigmats, click here.

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative