The results are in and exciting to share. In this month’s Quick Poll (see below), 68% of respondents noted that they sometimes or frequently use fully customized soft lenses. These lenses afford many more opportunities to our patients and allow practitioners to optimize their fitting process. Stay tuned for more information on customized lenses in future editorial content.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Essilor Webinar Helps Practitioners Who Have a Specialty Lens Practice Navigate COVID-19
Essilor Custom Contact Lens Specialists’ “Focus on Education” webinar series is offering a free webinar on Aug. 13, 8:00 p.m. EST on navigating COVID-19 with a specialty lens practice. The program is sponsored by Contamac and hosted by Dr. Howard Purcell, president and CEO of New England College of Optometry. This group panelist discussion webinar—with Dr. Anita Gulmiri, Dr. Katie Greiner, and Dr. Melanie Frogozo—will cover topics such as utilizing telemedicine for contact lens cases during the lockdown period, changes made to working with medically necessary contact lens patients during the pandemic, navigating working with children wearing contact lenses to adults wearing scleral lenses, and more. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/2915954302118/WN_HoIGs CmeR-idp7INWrZ1Jg.
BCLA Podcast Goes Live
The first-ever podcast produced by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is now live. Chief executive Luke Stevens-Burt is joined by optometrist Sarah Farrant to discuss the results of a BCLA survey that was held to better understand the feelings of those returning to practice in the contact lens field after the pandemic. The podcast, titled “The Community Speaks - attitudes and adaptations under COVID-19,” is the first in a series of short audio sessions aimed exclusively at contact lens professionals. Other topics, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in practice and comfort levels in carrying out certain procedures in a post-COVID environment, also come under the microscope in the 30-minute episode.
For the most up-to-date COVID-19 news and tips for eyecare providers, visit bit.ly/2WxiFbA.
And, you can now sign up to receive the weekly PentaVision COVID-19 News Roundup newsletter, a joint publication from Contact Lens Spectrum, Eyecare Business, and Optometric Management.
MacuHealth LP Announces New Formulation
MacuHealth announced a new patented carotenoid formulation, now exclusively commercialized as MacuHealth with Micro-Micelle Technology. According to the company, by providing the carotenoids in their free form (Original MacuHealth) and then enhancing their stability and solubility by the addition of acetates, the carotenoids are effectively incorporated into micromicelles (Micro-Micelle). The result is an increase in the capture of carotenoids by gathering cells, an improvement in absorption and bioavailability, and an ultimate increase in carotenoid concentrations at the target tissue, according to MacuHealth. MacuHealth is the sole and exclusive licensee of all patents on the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso zeaxanthin combined and of the Micro-Micelle Technology.
Èyes Are the Story Launches Bio-Beauty Brand
Èyes Are the Story has announced the launch of its bio-beauty brand that is uniquely focused on eye health. The startup developed a new line of optocosmetics and skincare rooted in safe-eye science. Founder Amy Gallant Sullivan collaborated with laboratories in the United States, Canada, and Italy to realize the brand’s full spectrum.
Incubated by Francelab Beauty Architects (a Marie Claire Group subsidiary in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong), Èyes Are the Story has more than 100 affiliates lined up to sell its products, which are vegan, cruelty free, and formulated according to European Union (EU) regulations. The full collection of products is available online and sold exclusively in select eyecare and dermatology practices throughout North America.
How frequently do you prescribe fully customized soft contact lenses?
Daniel Deligio, OD, Chicago College of Optometry, Downers Grove, IL
This image shows an eyelash that was trapped under a scleral lens for 12 hours and that caused a decrease in vision.
We thank Dr. Deligio 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.
S. Barry Eiden, OD
The Influence of COVID-19 on Contact Lens-Wearing Behaviors
The past five months have dramatically and abruptly changed the lives of people worldwide in a multitude of ways. A recent study was published that investigated the behavior of contact lens (CL) wearers in Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic.1
Researchers utilized a web-based questionnaire to assess demographics; CL history and activity; CL wear habits; and perceived risk of infection due to CL wear since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 737 participants who had an average age of 27.4 years (± 9.3 years) completed the online questionnaire. The vast majority of respondents were soft CL wearers and reported at least two years of CL wear.
Patients’ concerns about the increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection due to CL wear (40.6% of participants) were significantly related (p < 0.05) to CL discontinuation (46% of participants) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, there were significant changes in the frequency of CL wear during the COVID-19 pandemic (p < 0.05), with a tendency to increase occasional CL wear from 29.1% to 61.8%. Interestingly, the majority of respondents (87.9%) indicated that no professional had offered them information related to CL wear and COVID-19 and that they had not sought it on their own (82.2%).
The researchers concluded that there is a relationship between the perceived risk of infection and CL dropout during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a tendency to change the CL frequency of wear, with an increase in occasional CL wear. They further stated that during the ongoing pandemic, eyecare practitioners should reinforce CL patient education to minimize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and CL-related complications requiring clinical care.
As we have resumed more regular eye care following the shelter-in-place mandates earlier in the year, most of us have observed many of the trends in contact lens wear reported by this study. At our practice, a significant portion of our lens-wearing population examined since our “protected re-opening” have reported a notable reduction in CL wearing frequency, especially during the period of shelter-in-place. Many patients also expressed confusion regarding the risks of CL wear as it relates to COVID-19. We took a very proactive approach to patient education during this challenging time. We communicated with our patient base prior to, during, and following our shelter-in-place time period, utilizing e-mail blasts, website-based information on COVID-19 (https://www.nsvc.com/nsvc-in-the-covid19-world.html), and via direct patient communications with our technical staff. This has been key in allowing our patients to continue CL wear in a safe and effective manner. I urge all practitioners to take a similar approach. Keep updated on the most current evidence-based information pertaining to CL wear and COVID-19 as well as on all eye-related issues. Make sure that your entire staff is properly informed and able to share this information. Also, utilize all forms of patient communication to share this information. Your patients will greatly appreciate your efforts, and you will allow them to feel safe in CL wear, even if they decide to change their lens-wearing behaviors.
1. D García-Ayuso, M Escámez-Torrecilla, C Galindo-Romero, et al. Influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on contact lens wear in Spain. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2020 Jul 17 [Epub ahead of print].
OCULAR SURFACE UPDATE
Katherine M. Mastrota, MS, OD
Pain and Dry Eye
Pain is a frequently reported symptom in dry eye disease (DED). A 2020 cross-sectional study examined the factors associated with ocular pain severity and patient-reported improvement in ocular pain from commonly used dry eye and pain treatments.1
This study included patients presenting for dry eye management. Demographics, ocular and medical history, Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores, numeric pain scale, pain descriptors, and subjective response to tried eye drop, systemic, and non-pharmacologic treatments were collected. Statistical analysis was performed to identify differential treatment response in patients who have various pain levels using the non-parametric test for trend.
In the study, 144 patients were categorized into four groups according to reported pain severity. The study disclosed that increasing pain was significantly associated with younger age, history of refractive surgery, higher OSDI score, and less likelihood of corneal staining. Patients who had higher pain intensity were more likely to report a history of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and migraine. In addition, patients who had greater pain severity were less responsive to treatment with artificial tears, lubricating ointment, steroid eye drops, cyclosporine, 20% autologous serum tears, hot compresses, lid hygiene, and punctal occlusion.
The authors suggest that dry eye patients who have severe ocular pain often have associated psychological and systemic pain conditions. Treating the underlying DED is beneficial in reducing ocular pain; however, the low rate of a satisfactory response highlights the need for further investigation of effective therapies.
1. Siedlecki AN, Smith SD, Siedlecki AR, Hayek SM, Sayegh RR. Ocular pain response to treatment in dry eye patients. Ocul Surf. 2020 Apr;18:305-311.
Diagnostic Patterns in Keratoconus
The purpose of this study was to investigate the current patterns of diagnosis and referral in keratoconus.
A retrospective chart review was performed of patients who had recently been diagnosed with keratoconus and attended dedicated clinics at Antwerp University Hospital and Maria Middelares General Hospital (both in Belgium) between June 2013 and February 2018. Exclusion criteria included longstanding keratoconus diagnosis, reduced cognitive capabilities, and prior surgical procedures (corneal cross-linking, penetrating keratoplasty, or any type of refractive surgery).
There were 399 patients (722 eyes) included in this study. The mean age was 24.7 ± 6.5 years, and the average maximal keratometry was 51D ± 5.2D for the better eye and 58.4D ± 9.6D for the worse eye. Upon diagnosis, 233 eyes (32.2%) and 51 eyes (7.1%) had a thinnest pachymetry < 450μm and < 400μm, respectively. At their six-month follow up, 58% of patients had been fitted with specialty contact lenses. During follow up, 199 eyes (27.6%) underwent corneal cross-linking. One patient underwent corneal graft surgery of his worse eye due to contact lens intolerance and insufficient visual acuity.
Despite advances in diagnostic tools, keratoconus is often diagnosed at a relatively late stage. Earlier detection of keratoconus would increase the overall clinical benefit of corneal cross-linking. Further research into screening strategies is required to develop cost-effective screening programs.
Kreps EO, Ilse Claerhout I, Koppen C. Diagnostic Patterns in Keratoconus. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2020 May 21;S1367-0484(20)30103-X. [Online ahead of print]