The Contact Lens Event of 2013
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
Our January issue of Contact Lens Spectrum is one of our favorites of the year. Among other things, January is the issue in which we name the “Contact Lens Event” of the previous year. To do this, we seek input from our editorial board as well as from you—our readership. We then diligently evaluate events that we feel will have a lasting imprint on the contact lens field—those not observed in years past and/or those that could change the field in the years to come—in designating the event of the year.
We received many nominations for The Contact Lens Event of 2013. One major event that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact was Valeant Pharmaceutical International’s takeover of Bausch + Lomb—the company with the longest U.S. history in the soft contact lens care business. Likewise, as noted elsewhere in this issue of Contact Lens Spectrum, for the second consecutive year the daily disposable segment was the largest-growing segment of the contact lens market. We estimate that daily disposable lenses now make up 20% of the U.S. market—a market that has notoriously lagged behind the rest of the world in terms of utilizing daily disposables. We were also fortunate to see new daily disposable technology come forth that should help the single-use segment continue to grow even further.
However, this year we saw a major milestone in the field of contact lenses—an investigation never before conducted that will impact the field going forward more than anything else has in years past. As you know, contact lens discomfort (CLD) is a major factor impacting our patients’ daily contact lens wear, in addition to slowing contact lens market growth. Beginning in 2012 and completed in October 2013, the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society sponsored an International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort, which was published in a special issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science. The workshop involved 79 international experts whose aim was to create consensus on issues that relate to CLD using an evidence-based framework. Issues addressed included defining and classifying CLD, building consensus around potential causes of CLD, and providing a recommended management and treatment approach for CLD, among other things. Given the significance of this problem among contact lens wearers, and the prior lack of global consensus on the issues that relate to CLD, the completion of this CLD Workshop is undoubtedly The Contact Lens Event of 2013.
The staff of Contact Lens Spectrum and Contact Lenses Today wishes you all the best in 2014. As always, please contact us with your thoughts, comments, and tips.