A few weeks ago, I commented on the growth in the specialty lens market (e.g., sclerals) relative to the use of these lenses for patients who have irregular corneas, such as keratoconus (https://www.clspectrum.com/newsletters/contact-lenses-today/november-5,-2017). At that time, the issue was the potential impact of newly approved treatments, such as corneal cross-linking, on this continued growth. I think it should also be pointed out that both of these treatment options—specialty lenses and corneal cross-linking—may have a greater net effect on reducing corneal surgeries, such as corneal transplants. It will be important for us to monitor the impact of these trends going forward.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
NovaTears+Omega-3 Approved in Europe for the Treatment of Evaporative DED
Novaliq GmbH announced the European registration of NovaTears+Omega-3 for the enhanced treatment of the signs and symptoms of evaporative dry eye disease (DED).
According to the company, NovaTears+Omega-3 stabilizes the lipid layer of the tear film, reduces the evaporation of the underlying water phase of the tear film, and supplements the lipid layer with essential Omega-3 fatty acids. The company says that NovaTears is the first clinically proven lipid layer stabilizer that improves signs and symptoms in patients who have DED without causing vision blurring. With the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids, this effect can be further enhanced. Until now, Omega-3 fatty acids could only be reliably supplemented through diets (e.g., fish) or balanced nutrition, according to the company. Post-market clinical studies with NovaTears+Omega-3 are planned for 2018.
Novabay Pharmaceuticals Names Lewis J. Stuart Chief Commercial Officer
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. appointed Lewis J. Stuart as Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. Stuart brings more than 30 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience. At NovaBay, he will be responsible for leading all commercial activities, including driving sales and revenue growth of Avenova in new and existing markets and expanding the company’s global commercial channel.
Prior to NovaBay, Mr. Stuart was vice president, U.S. Oncology for Genomic Health, where he led the marketing, sales, and medical affairs teams for the company’s oncology franchise. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for Linkage Biosciences, Inc. recently acquired by Thermo Fisher, Inc. Previously, he served as president and general manager of Genetic Technologies, a women’s health/oncology company, where he established a U.S.-based molecular diagnostics division. He has also held leadership positions as senior vice president, Commercial Operations at CV Therapeutics, a Gilead Sciences acquisition, and vice president, Sales & Community Marketing at Agouron Pharmaceuticals before its acquisition by Pfizer, Inc.
Blanchard Contact Lenses Adds New Team Member in South America
Blanchard Contact Lenses announced that Hector Ernesto Velasquez, OD, has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. Velasquez will provide consultative support to Blanchard’s customers in South America.
Dr. Velasquez brings 23 years of experience in the eye care industry, including vast expertise in fitting scleral and GP specialty lenses. He is a member of the Scleral Lens Education Society and the International Association of Contact Lens Educators. Dr. Velasquez graduated from the Institute of Optometry in Caracas, Venezuela (Instituto Universitario de Optometria), where he was also a professor of Clinical Contactology. He travels around the world to share his knowledge and clinical experience in fitting specialty contact lenses. He also is a member of a professional group, called Ophthalmologists of the Valley Clinic, in Venezuela.
Global Specialty Lens Symposium – January 25-28, 2018
Hear the latest contact lens insights, clinical advancements, and technology improvements from world-renowned speakers. Register today and earn up to 35 CE hours. COPE, NCLE, JCAHPO, and Florida Board of Optometry credits available. www.GSLSymposium.com
If you haven’t voted yet in this month’s poll…
When working with a patient who has an irregular cornea, which GP lens design are you more likely to use?
This patient arrived at our clinic for routine evaluation. He had been wearing his scleral lens for the past six years without difficulty. Upon removal of his lens, this inclusion cyst was present. He stated he had not noticed the lesion nor any changes in comfort or vision. The cyst resolved with steroids prescribed by his surgeon.
We thank Mr. Russell for this image and welcome photo submissions from our other readers! It is easy to submit a photo for consideration for publishing in Contact Lenses Today. Simply visit http://www.cltoday.com/upload/upload.aspx to upload your image. Please include a detailed explanation of the photo and your full name, degree or title, and city/state/country.
CARE SOLUTION CORNER
Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD
Contact Lens Prescription Verification
Online purchasing has dramatically increased over the past few years. In fact, CNN.com reported that on Black Friday 2017 alone, U.S. consumers purchased more than $5 billion worth of goods online, a shift in market sales that has put a number of brick and mortar companies at risk for bankruptcy.1 Relatedly, more and more of our patients are choosing to purchase their contact lens products online.2 While online contact lens purchasing may be more convenient and a better option for some of our patients, this practice has come under fire because there have been a number of reports related to potentially unethical or even unlawful contact lens sales (e.g., sale of contact lenses without a valid prescription, improper contact lens substitution, etc.).2
Contact lens prescription verification is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Contact Lens Rule.3 The Contact Lens Rule indicates that once a contact lens fitting is complete, the prescriber is required to release the patient’s contact lens prescription.3 Patients can then have their prescription filled at the seller of their choice.3 If a patient elects to have a prescription filled at a location other than the prescriber’s office, the patient’s selected seller needs to contact the prescriber via secure email, fax, or phone to verify all of the following information: patient’s name, exam date, prescription issue and expiration dates, prescriber’s name and contact information, and the contact lens parameters (e.g., power, base curve, diameter, material, manufacturer).3 After first contact, prescribers have up to eight business hours to respond to the seller. If the prescriber fails to respond within this time period, the seller can elect to automatically verify the prescription.3
Contact lens prescriptions need to be verified by the prescribers or their designee in conjunction with the seller’s designee who should be (or be managed by) a licensed eyecare provider.3 The FTC does not elaborate on a designee’s required credentials; therefore, unless specifically stated by a state regulatory board or similar regional legal entity, the prescriber or lead healthcare professional at the selling company can train someone within his or her organization to complete this task. Some high-volume online sellers even use automated phone systems to perform prescription verifications.3 While automated phone systems are legal and may improve efficiency, they have been criticized for being impersonal, unclear, and even inaccurate.2,3
Overall, the ideal seller, be it at a dispensary or an online retailer, should employ a patient-centered, highly accurate verification system to ensure patient satisfaction and safety.
What area(s) of your contact lens practice has grown in the past 12 months? How have your scleral, orthokeratology, daily disposable, and multifocal lens businesses grown? This year, we saw tremendous growth in several of these areas.
I took the initiative to reach out to our community and share what specialty services we were offering in our office. I also shared that I would be happy to do consultations with practices nearby to help them become more successful in their fitting.
Additionally, we utilized social media and word of mouth to spread the word about our services. We saw a return. Not at first, but we saw the fruit of our marketing efforts reveal some great things.
Keratoconus patients who were suffering with their lenses were moved into lenses that they can wear all day. Patients who were progressing in their myopia were fit with lenses that have been shown to reduce myopia progression. Patients who previously had dropped out of lens wear were refit into daily disposable lenses for part-time use (and many of them are secretly ordering lenses more and more often).
As we start the new year, may I push you to start spreading the word about your services? Not only will your practice grow in size and financially, but, most importantly, your patients’ lives are bound to be changed by your services.
Mechanical Properties of Contact Lens Materials
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the mechanical properties of commonly available soft contact lens materials and compare results using a custom-built MicroTensometer.
Young’s modulus, parameters for stress relaxation, and toughness of 18 types of single-vision soft contact lenses were measured using a custom-built MicroTensometer. Five lenses of each type were soaked in standard phosphate-buffered saline and measured at a temperature of 35°C. Each lens was flattened and sliced into a rectangular strip sample using two parallel blades.
The 1-Day Acuvue Moist (Johnson & Johnson Vision [J&J]) and SofLens Daily Disposable (Bausch + Lomb) lenses measured the lowest moduli, whereas Air Optix Night & Day Aqua (Alcon) and Premio (Menicon) measured the highest. The measured moduli for silicone hydrogel materials were generally higher compared with the hydrogels except for Dailies AquaComfort Plus (Alcon). The exponential curve fitted over the decay in stress showed a consistent time constant of approximately 10 seconds for most lens types measured. However, the amplitude constant varied from 2.84% for SofLens Daily Disposable to 22.39% for 1-Day Acuvue TruEye (J&J). The toughness results showed that Dailies AquaComfort Plus is strong but not necessarily tough.
The mechanical properties of commonly prescribed soft contact lens materials were measured using a dedicated instrument. Its reliability was demonstrated, and modulus results were compared against published data from manufacturers and other research groups. Agreement was generally good, with only a few exceptions exceeding 15% difference. The more recently released silicone hydrogel lens types have reduced modulus, approaching that of medium- or high-water-content hydrogel materials.
Kim E, Saha M, Ehrmann K. Mechanical Properties of Contact Lens Materials. Eye Contact Lens. 2017 Nov 7. [Epub ahead of print]