The Top Lens-Related Topics of 2014
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
Several years ago, a reader asked whether we print a “Top 10 List”—a list of the 10 most important things going on in the contact lens field at any given time. We didn’t print such a list at that time; but for almost every year since 2009, we’ve printed a list of the top contact lens-related topics around this time of the year. Here’s this year’s account of some of the most important issues in the contact lens field (in no particular order).
Without question, the daily disposable segment of the market again makes the list this year. Not only have we seen continued growth, we’ve also seen new and novel technologies enter this category.
Another very important market segment continues to be myopia control with contact lenses. Although still an “off-label” practice, we know that practitioners are indeed prescribing myopia control for their patients. Questions remain about the magnitude of the clinical effect, long-term maintenance, and the regulatory environment surrounding this topic; but none-the-less, it is a very important one for our field.
In late 2013, The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society concluded its International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort. This was a global effort, underscoring just how debilitating this condition is to the long-term prognosis and success of our contact lens wearers and to growth in the industry itself. There is no doubt that this issue maintains a very important spot on our list.
Issues concerning contact lens care, and its regulation, remain critical in 2014. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has held one meeting so far this year, with another one scheduled for this month (September 2014). While the FDA has acknowledged that change is needed, what those changes will be is currently in the process of being discussed.
Lastly, significant changes have happened in the industry over the last year. We have seen consolidation of businesses, and there are many potential issues associated with this. In addition, some manufacturers have instituted Unilateral Price Policies for some of their contact lenses—certainly benefiting our field, but also being called into question by U.S. governmental subcommittees.
Many other issues are indeed important in our field, but we feel that these issues are critical to the long-term growth and continued success of contact lens practice.