Article Date: 5/1/2001

0501013

editor's perspective

The State of Contact Lenses and Our Role

BY JOSEPH T. BARR, OD, MS, FAAO, EDITOR
May 2001

We live in interesting times in the contact lens field. Practitioners are dispensing specialty (toric and bifocal) disposable soft contact lenses with great zeal in the United States. Daily disposable lenses are dispensed with great frequency in the United Kingdom. There are small pockets of increased interest in extended wear with high Dk silicone hydrogel lenses for 30-day wear in Australia, England and Canada. Most of us have concluded that, despite continued great interest in LASIK by our patients, it and other refractive surgery procedures are not going to kill the contact lens field in the foreseeable future. Despite underutilization of RGP lenses, the new orthokeratology (what some call corneal refractive therapy) is a hot topic, especially in Asia.

Some key questions remain. Will practitioners in the United States increase recommendations of contact lenses as refractive surgery comanagement fees dwindle? Or will continued price pressure from mail order and the Internet discourage them? When will high Dk silicone hydrogel lenses be approved for 30 days in the United States like they are on the rest of the planet? When will high Dk RGP lenses be approved for 30-day wear? When will overnight corneal refractive therapy (some call it overnight orthokeratology) be FDA approved? How soon will we have specialty daily disposable lenses and specialty high Dk silicone hydrogels? Will we ever know for sure if RGP lenses retard the progression of myopia in children and teenagers? And if so, will practitioners actually prescribe them?

Some likely scenarios will have an impact in the next couple of years. High Dk lenses will be approved for 30-day wear, and overnight myopia reduction and consumer advertising will cause your patients to ask about them. Will you use them or encourage another option? I predict the answers to the above questions will be a qualified yes and occur within the next few years. Of course I've predicted before and been wrong, so stay tuned.

What is Contact Lens Spectrum's role in the state of contact lenses? You don't become the most widely-read contact lens publication on the planet without some important ingredients. We try very hard to not filter what you learn from us. We will continue to provide not only the information you need most about how to help your patients with the most common contact lenses and care, but we also make sure that we cover the broadest spectrum of information for all to discuss contact lenses. Only through collaboration can we do this. If you like what we do, please let us know. If you don't, we definitely need to hear from you. We welcome contributions from all. Contact us at spectrum@boucher1.com.


Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: May 2001