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Sunday / August 14.
HomemicontactMorphing into micontact

Morphing into micontact

After 30 years of producing my ‘In Contact’ column. I’m excited to announce it has now morphed into mivision’s monthly column ‘micontact’.

We can look forward to some interesting new contact lenses entering the Australasian market over the coming months.

CooperVision will be launching their Biofinity Energys lens. The lens is designed to help alleviate some of the issues that result from our increasing use and reliance on digital devices. As I drove into my new office in Banksmeadow, Sydney I noted how practically every passenger on a bus I was next to were glued to their smartphones. No doubt many had an eight hour (plus) day at work ahead on their computers and other digital devices and well into the night.

The world has certainly changed as has the use of our eyes.

I believe that myopia control will become more widely prescribed and embraced

Energys utilises so-called Digital Zone Optics that integrates multiple front-surface aspheric curves across the entire optical zone that simulates more positive power in the centre of the lens. This is intended to reduce accommodative burden as wearers shift gaze from on-screen to off-screen tasks. As we’ve seen with spectacle lens technology such as Essilor’s Eyezen – and other anti-fatigue and occupational lenses – reduced accommodative demand can mean that patients have more reserves left in the tank. To my mind anything that reduces demand and alleviates stress should prove beneficial.

We will also see the release of Acuvue Oasys 1 Day for Astigmatism in the USA. I regard the Oasys 1 Day as probably the best soft contact lens I’ve ever fitted and I’m pretty sure the toric version will provide similarly great results.

Later this month Alcon will launch Air Optix plus HydraGlyde. This combines SmartShield Technology with the HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix wetting agent that helps attract lens surface moisture and retain lens surface hydration. An expanded spherical parameter range of -12.00D to +8.00D is promised, as is a packaging upgrade for the Air Optix family, from March.

I’ve also experienced superlative results with the Dailies Total1 (DT1) material. 2017 also sees an expansion of the DT1 multifocal Rx range allowing practitioners to fit a broader range of patients. Practitioners are reporting great results with the DT1 multifocal.

Myopia Control

I believe that myopia control will become more widely prescribed and embraced, whether it be through spectacle, contact lens or pharmaceutical control or potentially through laser refractive surgery. Light and UV B exposure, as well as Vitamin D research is also showing promise. There may well be other yet to be quantified methods for myopia control such as dietary considerations and phytomedical intervention.

The increasing use of digital devices and near point stress may well be one of the drivers of myopia progression.

I will continue to feature experts in the field and share some of the evidence that is now coming to the fore. Keep an eye out for a special feature on this later in the year. Australia and New Zealand are already well onto the path of providing such myopia control but there’s a long way to go.

The evidence base is showing quite considerable myopia progression reduction capability.

You’d have to be rather one-eyed to ignore this and not get actively involved in what is an area we can take ownership of. It’s also an area that will allow independents to stamp their mark and build a practice in these competitive times.

Part of the patient pathway is being able to offer such services. Not doing so, in the face of evidential benefit, could potentially be considered as malpractice. Practitioners are now practicing in an increasingly litigious environment and we should very carefully consider the current and future options.

New Initiatives

Treehouse Eyes, a new start-up in the USA is opening speciality myopia control centres around the USA and is pioneering this effort. Founder optometrist and well known character and presenter, Dr. Gary Gerber, had the insight, the science and resources but realized they didn’t fit with the traditional models for vision health. He teamed up with industry executive Matt Oerding, (who some of you may remember from his days as GM of CIBA, Australia) and Treehouse Eyes was born. They recruited top myopia control specialists and began to build Treehouse Eyes. Their unique vision is to be the first vision health practice focused exclusively on treating myopia in children.

Our very own passionate leader and contact lens specialist Kate Gifford and partner Paul have also had the vision to develop myopia control which they share through their platform www.myopiaprofile.com. Check it out for valuable resources and tips to get up and running in this arena.

If one considers what parents spend on orthodontics (upwards of ten grand!) then you can see that there’s much scope for myopia control which in my view is currently being provided at too low a fee.

As to this increasing need to offer myopia control, I also expect to see wider access to CooperVision’s MiSight myopia control soft lens. Based on the proven and successful Proclear platform – one of the best non-silicone high-water soft lenses – the MiSight lens is now entering its fifth year in trials and recent publications have shown very favourable myopia control capability

Although OrthoKeratology has over a decade of evidence showing excellent myopia control, overnight OK is not without risks, hence I see a daily disposable soft lens as a safer, more accessible way toward myopia control.

The same could be said of pharmacological control of myopia through low dose atropine: Atropine is a potent drug with potential systemic side-effects and other long term effects on ocular physiology. Again I see daily disposables and other two-week and monthly myopia control soft lens options as more acceptable to the majority of practitioners and patients alike.

Clean Green & Socially Responsible

Over the years I’ve had a few patients express concerns about the environmental impact of daily disposable contact lens packaging in particular, as well as other disposable lens packaging. It was thus nice to see that B+L have now implemented a strategy of no-cost recovery of disposable blister packs. They will collect such packaging for their own range of lenses as well as those from other manufacturers for recycling.

An additional positive aspect is that B+L will donate US$1.00 for every pound (about 454 grams) of blister packs collected and recycled to Optometry Giving Sight, a worthy charity that seeks to help eradicate preventable blindness, particularly in the developing world. It’s a nice gesture and one I suspect will help improve perceptions of B+L. This recycling initiative is currently available in the US only but watch this space.

Australia has long been a world leader and pioneer in contact lenses and we are fortunate to have many passionate leaders in this field.

I look forward to closer interaction with many of you and sharing the love and passion we have for contact lenses and eye care in general, now that I’m based in Sydney. I also hope to catch up with many readers and leaders at meetings around Australia, in due course.

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