The Contact Lens Event of 2012
BY JASON J.NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
The January issue of Contact Lens Spectrum is a unique one and probably my favorite each year. It’s a special issue in that it allows us to expand upon trends in the field compared to years past, in addition to making predictions about the future. The January edition is also the issue in which we name a “Contact Lens Event” of the prior year. This event is something for which we seek input from our editorial board, in addition to the input of our readership. We usually have many nominations, and it’s often a challenge to pick one such momentous event.
Indeed, we received many nominations for the Contact Lens Event of 2012. Research and methods related to controlling myopia were very popular. Without question, at least two contact lens categories deserve acknowledgment. Expansion in the scleral lens category was among the top frequent nominations as some believe we have continued to see scleral lenses grow in practice. The daily disposable category also deserves recognition. This is the second year in a row in which this modality experienced the most overall growth of any one lens category, plus we are seeing some unique material technologies being implemented. Finally, in January 2012, we recognized the Tear Film and Ocular Surface (TFOS) Society’s Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Workshop as the Contact Lens Event of 2011. TFOS launched an entire workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort in 2012, which should conclude in 2013. Stay tuned for more information on this new workshop as 2013 progresses.
Among many other noteworthy events too numerous to mention here, one event of 2012 stood out from the rest. For several years, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been moving toward updating the regulatory climate associated with contact lenses and lens care. To my knowledge, this public process started at an FDA-sponsored workshop in January 2009, held in response to the Fusarium and Acanthamoeba outbreaks in 2006 and 2007, respectively. In the latter half of 2012, the FDA published a series of articles in Eye and Contact Lens—eight in all—on this process. The issues at hand primarily include preclinical microbiological testing methodologies and classification for soft lens materials with an expansion to a fifth grouping and related rationale. While these regulatory changes have been a long time in coming, there is no doubt that the changes will impact the contact lens field in addition to the safety of our patients. Thus, we feel that the FDA’s forward steps in this process are 2012’s Contact Lens Event of the Year.
The staff of Contact Lens Spectrum and Contact Lenses Today wishes you all the best in 2013. As always, please contact us with your thoughts, comments, and tips.