In the May 2019 Contact Lenses Today Quick Poll, we reported that 78% of respondents felt that practicing myopia management in clinical care was considered “specialty” contact lens fitting. A lot has changed since that time, even though it has only been one year since we gathered those responses! We would appreciate your continued thoughts on this topic. Are you actively practicing myopia control in your practice? If so, when using contact lenses for myopia control, do you feel that this is “specialty” contact lens fitting? Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
X-Cel Honors ECPs with New “Choose Your Heroes” Program
X-Cel Specialty Contacts understands that practitioners are working in a challenging new environment, both financially and physically. The company believes that this is the time to pay honor to your heroes, frontline workers, essential workers, and others who deserve praise and appreciation.
To that end, X-Cel launched the Choose Your Heroes program. It has chosen eyecare professionals as its heroes and wants to give back and say thank you. Now through July 31, 2020, X-Cel is giving practitioners the opportunity to honor the medical workers, first responders, police, fire, teachers, and military who walk through their practice doors by taking 50% off of their specialty contact lenses that are manufactured and purchased direct from X-Cel.
CooperVision Offers Complimentary Lenses to Hospital Workers
With hospital workers still very much on the front lines of care, CooperVision has extended the deadline for its Essential Hospital Workers Complimentary Contact Lens Program to July 3, 2020. The program is designed for eyecare professionals who would like to offer complimentary lenses to their patients who are essential hospital workers in their communities, if they choose to do so. Through the program, CooperVision provides the lenses—one box per eye, per patient—to practitioners at no cost.
TFOS 2020 Conference Cancelled
As the coronavirus pandemic persists, the TFOS Board of Directors has decided to cancel the TFOS 2020 Conference in Cernobbio, Italy, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 9 to 11, 2020. The organization noted that a virtual conference will not be offered. In addition, due to legal restrictions, the TFOS 2020 Conference cannot be rescheduled.
I-Med Pharma, KMG International to Supply PPE and Diagnostic Testing Products
I-Med Pharma Inc. announced that it is collaborating with KMG International Limited to manufacture and supply personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 diagnostic tests to help respond to the urgent need for these products in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
I-Med Pharma has secured, through KMG Group, the manufacturing of face masks, face shields, protective isolation gowns, examination gloves, hand sanitizers, digital clinical thermometers, and SARS-CoV-2 antibody diagnostic testing kits to help with the increasing demand for these products in the global marketplace at this time.
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.
FDA Provides 510(k) Clearance for Bausch + Lomb Infuse Daily Disposable
Bausch + Lomb announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Bausch + Lomb Infuse daily disposable silicone hydrogel contact lenses.
According to the company, Bausch + Lomb Infuse contact lenses feature a next-generation contact lens material (kalifilcon A), which is designed for those who experience contact lens dryness. The lenses are expected to become available during the second half of 2020.
SynergEyes Offers Empirical Fitting for Its Hybrid Contact Lenses
SynergEyes, Inc. announced a new way to prescribe hybrid contact lenses without having to reach for a diagnostic set; UltraHealth hybrid lenses for keratoconus may now be fit empirically.
SynergEyes hybrid lenses historically required a diagnostic fitting set and physical application of trial lenses on patients. As knowledge of hybrid lenses and in-practice technology became more available, the company transitioned toward empirical fitting for SynergEyes A, Duette, and Duette Progressive.
SynergEyes has expanded empirical fitting for its more challenging irregular cornea patients to include the SynergEyes KC and the UltraHealth family of hybrid lenses. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of topographers in specialty practices, which is the impetus for making empirical fitting for these patients more viable, according to the company. Eyecare professionals provide keratometry readings, eccentricity data, horizontal visible iris diameter, and a refraction, and a SynergEyes technical consultant will design a first lens for the patient.
Blanchard Contact Lenses Unveils New Onefit Patient Website
Blanchard Contact Lenses has launched a new patient-facing website for its Onefit family of scleral lenses. Onefitlenses.com was designed to provide current or potential Onefit patients with an understanding of the design, features, benefits, and indications of the Onefit family of scleral lenses as well as care and handling resources, including application and removal videos. Prospective patients also can find a Onefit fitter close to them through the interactive practitioner locater.
Eaglet Eye announced DirectConnect, a new feature embedded in the Eye Surface Profiler (ESP) software 5.1. DirectConnect allows the ESP to connect directly to a custom lab’s fitting software, increasing the speed and accuracy of empirical fitting of specialty lenses, according to the company. DirectConnect currently includes BostonSight (FitConnect) and Blanchard Labs (Onefit Med), with more labs to follow. ESP software 5.0 was distributed to all ESP owners worldwide at no charge. DirectConnect will be included, at no additional charge, on any ESPs purchased going forward.
First Recipient of the Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship Selected
VSP Global and the Heart of America Eye Care Congress announced Nicholas A. Holtzman, BS, MS, of the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry as the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Holtzman received a $4,250 scholarship and a $750 travel grant to attend the 59th Annual Heart of America Eye Care Congress. Mr. Holtzman knew Dr. Fontana well and recalled in his application essay the influence that Dr. Fontana had on his career.
Mr. Holtzman, who is in his third year, is an active member of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA). He has parlayed his involvement with the AOSA into several leadership opportunities including assistant class president and president of the Private Practice Club. Prior to attending optometry school, Holtzman earned a Master of Science in Kinesiology and became an exercise specialist for people undergoing cancer treatment and then a clinical allergy specialist.
The Fontana Scholarship was created in 2019 in honor of St. Louis optometrist Frank D. Fontana, also known as Uncle Frank, who passed away in 2018. Dr. Fontana is considered a standard-bearer in the optometry industry. He founded the Contact Lens & Cornea section of the American Optometric Association and co-founded the Heart of America Contact Lens Society. The Fontana scholarship is awarded to third- and fourth-year optometry students actively engaged in patient care, and applicants are judged in four areas in which Dr. Fontana excelled: 1) clinical performance, 2) empathetic patient care, 3) ability and interest to adopt modern technologies, and 4) a strong interest in developing and participating in the optometry community.
ABB Optical Group Begins Distribution Services in Canada
ABB Optical Group has commenced distribution of contact lenses to Canadian eyecare professionals (ECPs). To serve its Canadian customers, ABB has opened a distribution center in Delta, British Columbia, and will employ approximately 20 staff members, with plans for expansion and growth later in 2020. ABB also offers other business solutions for the optical industry that it says could benefit Canadian ECPs in the future, such as lens fabrication, ophthalmic lens distribution, frames distribution, practice development strategies, a suite of business and technology solutions, and GP contact lens manufacturing. The company will be launching its Canadian B2B website in August.
Optometry Giving Sight Appoints New Executive Director
Optometry Giving Sight announced the appointment of Anne Marie Hand, MPH, as its new executive director, North America. Ms. Hand assumed the role on June 1. Ms. Hand brings a wealth of nonprofit management experience to Optometry Giving Sight and comes to the organization from the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, where she has been in a leadership position since 2011. Prior to the Girl Scouts, she served as the Deputy Director, Southwest Region, of Childsight, a division of Helen Keller International.
Eric Anderson, who has served as the interim executive director for the past year, will remain with Optometry Giving Sight as the lead fundraiser.
AAOF Announces the 2020 William C. Ezell Fellowship Recipients
The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) announced the 11 recipients of the 2020 William C. Ezell Fellowships. The Ezell Fellowship program is named after the founding president of the AAOF, William C. Ezell, OD. It was established to provide recognition and support to talented post-doctoral students who are pursuing an advanced degree in optometric research and education. This year’s Ezell Fellows will be honored at the AAOF’s Annual Celebration Luncheon on Oct. 10, 2020 at Academy 2020 in Nashville, TN.
AAO Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies (CCLRT) Ezell Fellowship: Erin Tomiyama, OD, MS, University of Houston College of Optometry
American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Ezell Fellowship: Eugene Appenteng Osae, OD, University of Houston College of Optometry
Danne Ventura / Essilor Ezell Fellowship: Reynolds Kwame Ablordeppey, OD, State University of New York College of Optometry
Facebook Ezell Fellowship: Lyndsey Ferris, OD, Indiana University School of Optometry
Irvin M. Borish / Essilor Ezell Fellowship: Young Hyun Kim, University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
John N. Schoen Ezell Fellowship: Justin Courson, University of Houston College of Optometry
Merton C. Flom Leadership Ezell Fellowship: Kelsy Steele, OD, MS, The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Mike Daley / Essilor Ezell Fellowship: Kwaku Osei, OD, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Michael G. Harris Ezell Fellowship: Afua Oteng Asare, OD, MPH, MSc, University of Toronto
Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS) Ezell Fellowship: Billie Beckwith-Cohen, DVM, MBA, University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Rod Tahran / Essilor Ezell Fellowship: Rabia Mobeen, BOptom, MPhil, University of New South Wales
Aldeyra Therapeutics Reaches Agreement with FDA for the Use of RASP as an Objective Sign for the Treatment of Dry Eye Disease
Aldeyra Therapeutics, Inc. announced that, based on preliminary written comments and meeting discussion, agreement has been reached with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of RASP (reactive aldehyde species) as an objective sign for the treatment of dry eye disease. RASP are pre-cytokine pro-inflammatory mediators that are elevated in the tears of patients who have dry eye disease, and they correlate with dry eye disease symptoms and signs. According to the company, its investigational first-in-class RASP inhibitor, reproxalap, when administered topically to the eye, is thought to be more than 500-fold in excess of tear RASP levels and has demonstrated consistent statistically significant and clinically relevant activity in dry eye disease, allergic conjunctivitis, and other forms of ocular inflammation across numerous Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials.
Aldeyra expects to provide an update on clinical development plans and remaining new drug application (NDA) requirements for reproxalap in dry eye disease following receipt of FDA meeting minutes, which are anticipated in July 2020.
Many meetings that we attend have been adapted to a virtual environment. Do you feel that some meetings should continue with a virtual format after the pandemic?
This is a photo of an amniotic membrane tissue (AMT) under a scleral device. This patient, who has a long history of exposure keratoconjunctivitis, had a recent superficial keratectomy procedure to help clear some superficial corneal scarring. To help support her ocular surface during the healing process, an AMT was placed under a soft bandage contact lens. However, the soft contact lens repeatedly fell off. It was decided to resume her scleral device over the AMT.
We thank Dr. Sotomayor 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
A Novel Approach to Reduction of Bacterial Contamination in Contact Lens Wear
As practitioners strive for safer contact lens wear, we need to continue to explore all approaches that could potentially reduce the incidence of microbial keratitis (MK), which is the single most concerning complication because of its potential to result in permanent vision loss.
A recent article looked at a novel approach in soft contact lens technology that has the potential to reduce bacterial contamination.1 This study reported on the preparation, characterization, and biological evaluation of soft contact lenses (CLs) releasing nitric oxide (NO) as an unconventional antibacterial agent under daylight exposure. During the study, a tailored NO photo donor (NOPD) was embedded into commercial CLs, resulting in treated CLs with an excellent optical transparency (transmittance = 100%) at λ ≥ 450nm. In particular, NO release from the CL is observed upon visible light illumination. The NO photo releasing CLs are well-tolerated in both dark and light conditions by corneal cells while being able to induce good growth inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus under visible light irradiation. The researchers concluded that these results may pave the way for further engineering of the CLs with NOPD as innovative antimicrobial ocular devices activatable by sunlight.
Contact lenses have developed into an amazingly safe and effective means of vision correction. I believe that the “holy grail” of contact lens wear still remains safe continuous wear. The key may be in our ability to address significantly higher rates of MK found with continuous wear versus daily removal of contact lenses. This study may be a key step forward. Much more work is needed for sure.
1. Seggio M, Nostro A, Ginestra G, Quaglia F, Sortino S. Contact Lenses Delivering Nitric Oxide under Daylight for Reduction of Bacterial Contamination. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Aug;20:3735.
OCULAR SURFACE UPDATE
Katherine M. Mastrota, MS, OD
Is “Pink” or “Red” a Sign for Concern?
I am certain that your office has received calls from patients concerned that their symptoms of “pink eye” could possibly be due to the virus that causes COVID-19 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 [SARS-CoV-2]) and that their “red eyes” could possibly spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The ocular surface has been suggested as a site of infection with SARS-CoV-2. An April 2020 literature review of 287 reports examined the evidence for this hypothesis and set out to evaluate evidence for the ocular surface as a route of infection.1 SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by person-to-person contact, via airborne droplets, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. SARS-CoV-2 binds to angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) to facilitate infection in humans. The report stated that there is preliminary evidence for ACE2 expression on corneal and conjunctival cells, but most of the other receptors to which coronaviruses bind appear to be found under the epithelia of the ocular surface. Additionally, evidence from animal studies was limited, with a single study suggesting that viral particles on the eye can travel to the lung, resulting in very mild infection. According to the report, “Coronavirus infection is rarely associated with conjunctivitis, with occasional cases reported in patients who have confirmed COVID-19, along with isolated cases of conjunctivitis as a presenting sign.”1 Coronaviruses also have been rarely isolated from tears or conjunctival swabs. The evidence suggests that coronaviruses are unlikely to bind to ocular surface cells to initiate infection. Conjunctivitis and isolation of the virus from the ocular surface occur only rarely and overwhelmingly in patients who have confirmed COVID-19.
The authors concluded that, keeping this in mind, necessary precautions to prevent person-to-person SARS-CoV-2 transmission should be employed in clinical practice; however, patients can be counseled accordingly regarding conjunctivitis outside of the COVID-19-confimed diagnosis.
1. Willcox MD, Walsh K, Nichols JJ, Morgan PB, Jones LW. The Ocular Surface, Coronaviruses and COVID-19. Clin Exp Optom. 2020 May 13. [Online ahead of print]
Expression of the COVID-19 Receptor ACE2 in the Human Conjunctiva
SARS-CoV-2 is assumed to use angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and other auxiliary proteins for cell entry. Recent studies have described conjunctival congestion in 0.8% of patients who have laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2, and there has been speculation that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted through the conjunctiva. However, it is currently unclear whether conjunctival epithelial cells express ACE2 and its cofactors.
In this study, a total of 38 conjunctival samples from 38 patients, including 12 healthy conjunctiva, 12 melanoma, seven squamous cell carcinoma, and seven papilloma samples, were analyzed using high-throughput RNA sequencing to assess mRNA expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 and its cofactors including TMPRSS2, ANPEP, DPP4, and ENPEP. ACE2 protein expression was assessed in eight healthy conjunctival samples using immunohistochemistry.
The results indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 is not substantially expressed in conjunctival samples on the mRNA (median 0.0 transcripts per million [TPM], min 0.0 TPM, max 1.7 TPM) and protein levels. Similar results were obtained for the transcription of other auxiliary molecules.
In conclusion, this study finds no evidence for a significant expression of ACE2 and its auxiliary mediators for cell entry in conjunctival samples, making conjunctival infection with SARS-CoV-2 via these mediators unlikely.
Clemens Lange, Julian Wolf, Claudia Auw-Haedrich, Expression of the COVID-19 Receptor ACE2 in the Human Conjunctiva. J Med Virol. 2020 May 6. [Epub ahead of print]