Presbyopes walking into eye care practices today are not the same as those who walked in 10 years ago so a revised approach is required to deliver on their needs, according to the keynote speaker at national Basuch + Lomb roadshow during August.
At a fascinating roadshow, presented by Bausch + Lomb, optometrists heard in Australia there are currently 10 million people who fall into the categories of pre-presbyopic, emerging presbyopic or presbyopic.
“All baby boomers are presbyopic, more than half of Generation X are presbyopic and the rest are emerging,” said Brisbane-based optometrist David Stephensen, who is also a Fellow of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia.
Mr. Stephensen had been invited to speak to optometrists about presbyopes’ vision preferences and concerns, and about Baush + Lomb’s latest “tools and lens technologies”.
I enjoy complex contact lens fitting because I do it for the smiles
He said communication is the hallmark of selling contact lenses. Acknowledging that many presbyopes are frustrated by their changing vision and gradual need to wear glasses, he said this group relies on advice from their eye care professional.
“If they are emmetropic they are coming to terms with needing read glasses. If they are myopic, their contact lenses are starting to annoy them because they can no longer use them to read – extra assistance is needed. And often, these patients are also experiencing digital strain,” said Mr. Stephensen.
He said people often had misconceptions about contact lenses which needed to be understood before starting a conversation.
He said the three top reasons patients perceived multi-focal contact lenses to be better than glasses were:
- They are better for physically active people and therefore appeal to their desire to feel like they’re being active;
- They make a person look younger; and
- They are better for undertaking tasks at the drop of a hat, in doing so increasing personal / leisure and professional productivity.
He said patients were concerned to ensure their multifocal contact lenses would enable them to:
- See well when driving at night: they need precise, accurate and good contrast sensitivity
- Read books both in print or on devices – with the advent of tablets, people are reading more than ever before
- To work on their computer /tablet for longer without taking breaks
In essence, they want to be able to see all the time, at all distances whenever and wherever they are, Mr. Stephensen said.
He said multifocal contact lens wear is disturbingly low, reasoning that this may in part be because optometrists find the concept of fitting multifocal contact lenses challenging. “However a multifocal contact lens is not hard or challenging – all the hard work is done by the manufacturer. It can be a first line treatment for presbyopia – you can put your patients into a multifocal contact lens before they need reading glasses and make them happy,” said Mr. Stephensen, adding, “I enjoy complex contact lens fitting because I do it for the smiles”.
Mr. Stephensen introduced Ultra for Presbyopia, a contact lens with three zones optimised for distance, intermediate and near with the smallest power variation inside each of these as possible. He said it was ideal for presbyopes because within each zone, the wearer was able to find a true functional focus an all objects in space which sent a clear signal to the retina.
He said monthly Ultra for Presbyopia lenses could be interchanged with Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia lenses without the need for another prescription.
Mr. Stephensen said fitting Ultra for Presbyopia was simple:
- Update the spectacle prescription in both eyes.
- If the patient is in the 0.75-1.5 dioptre add range, put the vertex corrected spherical equivalent lens in with a low add in each eye, stand back and wait for the smile.
- If they’re a 1.75 – 2.5 dioptre add, use a high add in both eyes.
“Most of the time this is all I have to do. These lenses give the most consistent, rapid reading response that I’ve seen,” said Mr. Stephensen.
He said the fitting guide was invaluable. “Real world testing of fitting success of a three zone progressive design from 39 practitioners, 10 countries and 443 patients found 92 per cent said the fitting guide made it easy to fit the three zone progressive lens… 80 per cent of subjects were fitted within one visit and 96 per cent were fitted in two visits.”