reader and industry forum
A New Daily Disposable Design Provides Opportunity
BY CARLA J. MACK, OD, MBA, FAAO
I have been an avid prescriber and proponent of daily disposable lenses. I believe the benefits include convenience and improved compliance. The daily replacement schedule has been a great option for my patients who travel frequently, have dry eyes, have seasonal or perennial allergies or who desire part-time wear.
When patients comply with the single use of daily disposable lenses, solution noncompliance is virtually eliminated, which is an added benefit for all of our contact lens patients and especially for children. Interestingly, patients I've fitted as part-time daily disposable wearers often became full-time or close to full-time wearers because of the convenience or comfort of a new lens each day. Overwhelmingly, my patients report that this modality improves their lifestyle.
Opportunity to Expand
Many contact lens practitioners state that they know prescribing daily replacement lenses is a good option for many of their patients, but they are held back because they assume that patients will balk at their cost. My experience is that the benefits of daily disposable lenses will overcome this resistance if you only provide your patients the opportunity to try them. U.S. eyecare practitioners are often surprised that other countries such as Japan, Norway, Denmark and the United Kingdom are less inhibited by cost and more proactive in recommending daily disposables. According to "International Contact Lens Prescribing in 2007," by Dr. Philip Morgan and others (Contact Lens Spectrum, January 2008), 43 percent of new soft lens fits in 2007 were daily disposables in Japan as compared to just 5 percent of new fits in the United States.
A Promising New Design
Recently, Bausch & Lomb introduced the SofLens Daily Disposable, which replaced its predecessor SofLens One Day. Technological advancements in the new design offer potential improvements in vision, comfort and handling over SofLens One Day. Its aspheric optics reduce the average population spherical aberration (0.15 microns for a 6mm pupil) as well as control for lens power-induced spherical aberration. Patients who have large pupils and high prescriptions may benefit most, as will most patients in low-level light environments.
Three features of the new contact lens help contribute to increased comfort. First, the non-ionic material, hilafilcon B, resists protein uptake. Second, the lens has been redesigned to decrease its overall mass. Third, poloxamine in the packaging solution works synergistically with the tears on lens application, creating a moisturizing effect that conditions the lens surface.
Increased tensile strength has improved handling of the SofLens Daily Disposable over the SofLens One Day. It's now more resistant to tearing, which may be especially helpful for first-time wearers and for our younger patients. Additionally, the blister pack has been ergonomically redesigned to facilitate its opening as well as removal of the lens.
It wasn't long after my SofLens Daily Disposable fitting set arrived that I examined an active 8-year-old girl who played soccer and suffered from seasonal allergies. She was a part-time spectacle wearer with a low myopic prescription of –1.25DS in both eyes. She was highly motivated to wear contact lenses because she was not currently wearing any correction for sports. My recommendation to her parents was a daily disposable lens. I wholeheartedly believe that a firm recommendation followed with the appropriate rationale for the recommendation makes an impressionable impact. I explained the convenience of the modality and added features of this new lens such as the aspheric optics and handling properties. This young patient is now a successful SofLens Daily Disposable wearer.
A 22-year-old female college student presented for a comprehensive examination seven days before she was scheduled to move out of state to attend a new university for graduate school. At the time she was wearing a two-week replacement silicone hydrogel lens without complaints; she reported compliant lens and solution use and needed to order an annual supply. Due to the time constraints of her travel to school and lack of complaints, I hesitated to offer what I felt was a better option for her busy lifestyle.
Nevertheless, I did choose to recommend and educate her about daily disposable lenses. I explained the convenience, ease of care and added wetting agent available in several lenses, which could improve comfort throughout the day. The patient was motivated but concerned about completing the fitting process before her move. I explained that if she wore the lenses each day for a full day before her next appointment that she would be able to tell whether she felt a noticeable improvement in the end-of-day comfort and whether she preferred the convenience of the daily disposable modality.
I fitted her with the SofLens Daily Disposable lens, and at the follow-up visit she reported that lens handling was good and the end-of-day comfort was excellent. She was most pleased with the convenience of throwing out the lenses each night and wearing a new pair each day.
What about current SofLens One Day patients? Study data on file with B&L on 75 subjects in a four-week, randomized crossover study indicate that there's no statistically significant difference in centration and movement of SofLens Daily Disposable compared to SofLens One Day. In fact, both lenses share the 8.6mm base curve and 14.2mm diameter. My personal preference is to treat this as a contact lens refitting including a discussion highlighting the features and benefits of the new design as well as charging the appropriate contact lens fitting fees and scheduling appropriate follow-up visits as needed.
Seize the Opportunity
Recommend the positive attributes of daily disposable lenses for full-time or part-time lens wearers, those new to lens wear, children, those who have dry eyes or allergies, heavy depositors, frequent travelers and those who are non-compliant with care regimens and two-week or one-month replacement schedules. Your patients will find value in the benefits of daily disposable lenses, and your practice profitability will improve. CLS
Dr. Mack joined Bausch & Lomb Incorporated in September 2008 as Director Medical Affairs Global Vision Care. Prior to that, she had an active role in patient care and clinical teaching as a faculty member and Director of Clinic Services for The Ohio State University College of Optometry.