The 2002 Contact Lens Event of the Year
BY JOSEPH T. BARR, OD, MS, EDITOR
We are driven by the many radical events in the contact lens field of 2002 into the beginning of a new year of opportunities and challenges in 2003. Certainly the wide adoption, promotion and expansion of 30-day continuous wear silicone hydrogel lenses worldwide driven by Bausch & Lomb and CIBA Vision and the minor impact of 30-day continuous wear GP lenses (Menicon Z) was expected. Certainly the snail's pace growth of daily disposable soft contact lenses was no surprise. The FDA approval of Paragon Vision Science's CRT lens for corneal refractive therapy for all ages was startling. The FDA considered deregulating plano cosmetic soft contact lenses to an over-the-counter modality and then cracked down hard on unauthorized dispensing of these devices. Numerous states passed contact lens dispensing laws to cut down on illegitimate contact lens dispensing as alarming stories of ulcers and complications for nonprofessional dispensing were exposed on national television in the United States.
Some meetings stand out as signs of an expanding and vital industry. The CIBA Vision-sponsored meeting Continuous Wear Summit supported by The Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the Sections on Cornea and Contact Lenses of the American Academy of Optometry and American Optometric Association, an invitation-only affair, was a shot in the arm for contact lens leaders involved, and the proceedings published in the CLAO Journal will lend further support to this modality. The Contact Lens Industry-sponsored Contact Lens and Eyecare Symposium (CLES) will meet this month in Orlando. But who would have imagined nearly 400 people attending the Global Orthokeratology Symposium in Toronto last August? No one predicted this awesome success. Researchers and innovators of ortho-k and corneal refractive therapy from all over the world united to legitimize this practice. Our publisher, Boucher Communications, Inc, Paragon Vision Sciences, Polymer Technology Corp., and the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association took the risk to put this meeting firmly on the map.
But which of the many special events was the most significant in 2002? No question, the unprecedented patent lawsuit "victory" by CIBA Vision, Inc. over Bausch & Lomb regarding silicone hydrogel lenses and the resulting court injunction against B&L was critical. B&L cannot sell PureVision in the United States. B&L moved manufacturing of PureVision to Ireland. Thousands of patients happily wearing PureVision lenses and hundreds of contact lens practitioners could not legitimately obtain these lenses. CIBA Vision has a monopoly on this modality in the United States for some time.
Best wishes for a prosperous 2003.