The Contact Lens Event of 2008
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
It's our tradition to provide an annual report in each January issue to summarize the events of the last year in the field of contact lenses. We also traditionally select "The Contact Lens Event" of the previous year, which we consider to be the hallmark topic or event that's had or will have a major impact on our field.
To help in the process, we solicited feedback from our readership, editorial board members and key opinion leaders in the field. We received numerous suggestions, some of which related to the ocular health of lens wearers including the relevance of corneal staining and new insights into risks of microbial keratitis with silicone hydrogels. Other nominations targeted new lens innovations including the introduction of a daily disposable silicone hydrogel lens and the expansion of silicone hydrogels in the toric sector of the market. There were many nominations regarding advances in dry eye, both in general and as it relates to contact lens wear. Many also pointed out that despite a significant decline in the global economy, there was continued growth in the ophthalmic sector of the market and most practitioners saw continued growth in their practices.
As important as these all are, this year's Event of the Year was one that we might consider somewhat overdue. On June 10, 2008, the Ophthalmic Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration met to discuss issues surrounding contact lens care and the agency's oversight of the industry. Topics included regulatory processes for care solution approval with emphases on preclinical (e.g., microbiological testing) and clinical (e.g., outcomes associated with the approval of care solutions) testing, in addition to labeling considerations (e.g., the regimen, importance of a rub step, discard dates). Although more meetings and discussions are certain to come, this meeting summarized the impact of many events that have happened over the past few years.
Looking ahead, Contact Lens Spectrum has a tremendous line-up of timely and cutting edge content planned for 2009. We solicited your feedback on important issues and have planned for in-depth coverage by prominent authors in the field. We have historically devoted the October issue to GP lenses, which we will continue to do. However, we are also now planning an entire issue devoted to dry eye that will include topics such as contact lens-related dry eye and discomfort, meibomian gland disease and pharmaceutical treatments. Given the increasing burden of dry eye disease and forthcoming pharmaceutical treatments, we may face no greater issue as contact lens practitioners.
Thanks to all of our readership and supporters for a fabulous 2008. We wish you all a successful and prosperous 2009.