Patients Will Always Need GP Lenses
BY JOSEPH T. BARR, OD, MS, FAAO, EDITOR
Our October issue is dedicated to GP contact lenses. It does my heart good to see young contact lens practitioners -- especially optometry contact lens residents -- who are so eager to learn about the subtleties of this modality. In August, the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association and its Rigid Gas Permeable Lens Institute held its annual residency training session for this group of 20 some. Ed Bennett, OD, MSEd, Tom Quinn, OD, MS, Keith Ames, OD, Lisa Badowski, OD, MS, Craig Norman, FCLSA, Jane Beeman, COA, NCLC-AC, FCLSA, PRSA (some of the best minds and educators in the GP field) and I helped Ursula Lotzkat, Keith Parker, NCLC, and Jo Svochak educate these great young minds.
The first contact lenses made from glass (and later scleral lenses made from PMMA) corrected vision in the most challenging cases, especially keratoconus. After Kevin Touhy "invented" the PMMA corneal lens, more people could wear contact lenses for cosmetic benefits as well as for irregular astigmatism. Today's wettable, high Dk GP lenses of spherical, aspheric, toric and multifocal designs and larger corneal lenses of numerous designs help us correct astigmatism especially, and they are absolutely necessary for the growing number of irregular cornea cases. We recently achieved 20/20 vision using a hyper Dk GP scleral lens on a difficult penetrating keratoplasty eye that had failed with all other contact lenses.
Continuous wear with hyper Dk GP lenses is as safe as extended wear can be. And more practitioners are fitting adults and young patients using corneal reshaping with return zone, reverse geometry contact lenses. Soon we will learn the results of the long-term study of GP lens use for myopia control in children by Jeff Walline, OD, PhD.
Even though GP lens sales have decreased because of soft toric contact lens success, practitioners should consider GP contact lenses for every case in which corneal and refractive cylinder are similar and the environment is suitable, for every irregular cornea case, for youngsters who are entering into myopia and for corneal reshaping to escape the daytime wear of contact lenses. Patients will always need these lenses more than practitioners use them.