I was recently interviewed by a senior editor of a chemical and engineering publication. She asked me to provide my perspectives on the contact lens field to help set the scene for her audience of scientists. While I had not given too much thought to the interview going in, I found myself feeling refreshed about our field after concluding the interview. Her questions led to a very interesting dialogue about the past, present, and future of contact lenses. I felt as though she walked away with a sense of opportunity for her audience relative to contact lens material chemistry, design, and manufacturing. My sense is that we have a lot of great contact lens innovations to look forward to in the future.
Jason J. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD
Alcon Launches New Digital Vision Care Marketing Portal
Alcon launched a comprehensive marketing portal with digital resources and content to help eyecare professionals (ECPs) strengthen their online outreach to patients. Located on alconODmarketing.com, the Alcon Vision Care Marketing Portal offers e-marketing tools and training as well as patient educational videos and other content. In terms of branded content, the portal launched with a variety of Dailies materials—such as social media posts, photography, and logos—that will be updated on a monthly basis.
The portal will also feature training materials for ECPs and their staff to help them navigate the portal and learn how to leverage downloaded assets on their websites and social media channels. The following resources will be available in the portal: social media content; video content that new and existing contact lens wearers can reference to learn more about proper contact lens care, new products, and more; brand logos and product photography that can be used on a variety of platforms including blogs, social media, email newsletters, and more; and lifestyle photography that can be downloaded and used on the ECPs’ social media channels or websites.
In unrelated news, Alcon launched Air Optix Choice, a new program that offers significant savings on most Air Optix contact lenses, including Alcon’s new Air Optix plus HydraGlyde contact lenses. At the same time, Alcon will extend its existing Dailies Choice Program.
The Dailies Choice Program includes up to $200 in savings on a patient’s first annual supply of either Dailies Total1 or Dailies AquaComfort Plus contact lenses. The Air Optix Choice Program includes up to $100 in savings on an annual supply for patients new to the Air Optix family of contact lenses or an existing patient who is switching lenses within the Air Optix family. For more information about the programs, including their full terms and conditions, visit airoptixchoice.com and dailieschoice.com.
Hubble Contacts Raises $16.5 Million in Series A Financing
Hubble, a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, announced the close of a $16.5 million Series A investment round. FirstMark Capital led this financing round, with participation from existing investors including Greycroft Partners, Wildcat Capital Management (the family office of TPG Capital Founder, David Bonderman), and Two River. The Series A round brings Hubble’s total financing to $23.7 million, allowing the company to invest more in marketing and advertising initiatives, and to purchase additional inventory to accommodate its growing customer base.
Hubble recently extended its lens powers to a range of –0.50D through –12.00D. So far, those who have astigmatism are unable to purchase their lenses through Hubble, but its Series A raise will allow the company to purchase a substantial inventory of toric lenses to support customers with astigmatism and roll out new product extensions, including eye drops, according to the company.
The company launched in late 2016 with a partnership with St. Shine, which manufacturers Hubble’s FDA-cleared daily disposable lenses in Taipei, Taiwan. Hubble’s daily disposable contact lenses are made of high-grade methafilcon A, a hydrogel material with 55% water content, UV protection, and a thin edge.
After the prescription has been verified, new customers will get their first shipment of 30 Hubble lenses for free with a $3 shipping and handling fee. Subscribers can chose between monthly and annual subscriptions at $30 per month or $264 per year, respectively. Orders can be canceled or modified at any time. For subsequent shipments, the contact lenses are shipped for free to anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and to military APO/DPO/FPO addresses.
Allergan’s Eyepowerment Campaign Urges Chronic Dry Eye Sufferers to Take Action
Allergan’s new “Eyepowerment” campaign aims to empower individuals who may be struggling with symptoms of chronic dry eye to talk to their eyecare professional.
The Eyepowerment campaign includes digital, social media, television, print, and public relations support. The Eyepowerment social media channels and landing page launched on Feb. 24. In addition, Allergan partnered with celebrity influencers to engage consumers during the airing of the 2017 Academy Awards on Feb. 26 to kick off the Eyepowerment concept. Fans were encouraged to share selfies of their eyes on Twitter to show that eyes are more powerful than any red carpet dress, using #Eyepowerment and #Donate. For every #Eyepowerment shared along with an “eye selfie,” Allergan will donate $10 (up to $25,000) to Dress for Success, to help the organization whose mission of empowering women is so closely aligned to Allergan’s. The campaign will be further supported with broadcast advertisements beginning this month and print kicking off this summer.
Join the Eyepowerment conversation by following @Eyepowerment on Twitter and using the hashtag #Eyepowerment.
2017 Marks World Council of Optometry’s 90-Year Anniversary
The World Council of Optometry (WCO) was originally founded in Cologne, Germany in 1927 as the International Optical League—Ligue Internationale d’optique. In 1970, the name was changed to the International Optometric and Optical League (IOOL) and was based in the United Kingdom. In 1996, the IOOL became the WCO and is now headquartered at the American Optometric Association offices in St. Louis. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the WCO.
Today, the WCO’s mission is to facilitate the development of optometry around the world and to support optometrists in promoting eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education, policy development, and humanitarian outreach. It remains an international organization dedicated to the enhancement and development of eye and vision care worldwide.
The WCO collectively represents more than 200,000 optometrists in almost 60 countries through more than 200 affiliate, associate, corporate, and individual memberships across six world regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Additionally, past WCO presidents have come from countries all over the world including Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Norway, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States.
Gender Equity Encouraging Stories of Success for Women Globally
In support of the 2017 International Women’s Day, the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) launched its new Gender Equity in Eye Health course.
The course was offered in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on March 8, and the blended course will move on to Pakistan once completed in PNG. The goal of the course is to enable eyecare professionals to deliver gender appropriate services that are informed and tailored to address the specific barriers to achieving gender equity in eye health programming. While also being locally focused on improving the eye health outcomes of women and girls in each specific location, this course is relevant to drive broader sustainable development programming.
The women behind the course include Sumrana Yasmin, regional director in Pakistan and the South East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean region for BHVI; Judith Stern, BHVI’s global manager for Learning and Teaching; and Jambi Garap, MD, PNG’s president of National Prevention of Blindness Committee and head of the board for PNG Eye Care, a local non-governmental organization committed to increasing access to eye health care and accessibility of spectacles.
Optometry Giving Sight Announces World Sight Day Student Challenge Winners
Students from 30 schools of optometry and pre-optometry clubs across North America have raised more than $40,000 as part of the 2016 World Sight Day Student Challenge to help fund the development of optometry in underserved communities throughout the world.
Optometry Giving Sight provides funding support to nine schools or colleges of optometry where 782 students are currently enrolled. Three hundred eighty-three have already graduated, with the potential to see 766,000 patients per annum. The Brien Holden Vision Institute implements the Development of Optometry program.
Every year, Optometry Giving Sight, in partnership with VOSH International, offers three travel stipends to the schools that raise the most in donations. This year’s winners are:
• University of Montreal School of Optometry: Through a variety of activities including a bowling event, a “5-10” social event, a silent auction, as well as sales of t-shirts, wristbands, and custom water bottles, $10,000 was raised.
• University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science: During a “Dining in the Dark” event with a silent auction, participants were blindfolded during a meal to simulate what it would be like to be blind.
• University of Houston College of Optometry: For the last six years, students have coordinated a successful talent show featuring students and faculty.
CLMA Announces Board of Directors Elections and Committee Chair Appointments
The Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) membership has elected the following member company representatives to serve on the board of directors for a one-year term:
President – Daren Nygren, Custom Craft Lens Service of Nevada, Inc.
Vice President – J. Kurtis Brown, Menicon America, Inc.
Secretary Treasurer – Josh Adams, Valley Contax, Inc.
Immediate Past President – Jan Svochak, TruForm Optics, Inc.
Daniel Bell, Acuity Polymers, Inc.
Jeff Birk, Essilor Contact Lenses
Cassandra Gordon, Visionary Optics LLC
Mike Fischer, Misupco. Inc.
Troy Miller, AccuLens, Inc.
Chris Pantle, DAC International, Inc.
Keith Parker, Advanced Vision Technologies, Inc.
In addition, President Nygren appointed the following committee chairs:
Awards Committee – Jan Svochak
Convention 2018 Committee – Josh Adams
Government Affairs Committee – Daniel Bell
GP Lens Committee – Cassandra Gordon
Internal Affairs Committee – Chris Pantle
International Committee – Don Dixon, TruForm Optics, Inc.
Membership/Membership Services – Derrell James, X-Cel Specialty Contacts
Nominating Committee – Jan Svochak
Technical Affairs Committee – Troy Miller
What soft lens material characteristic do you feel makes the most difference for patients who experience discomfort and reduced comfortable wearing time?
This patient presented with bilateral floppy eyelid syndrome and advanced keratoconus in both eyes. The scleral lens in the left eye stays surprising clean given the chronic condition of the upper tarsal conjunctiva. The vision in the right eye was not significantly improved due to hydrops.
We thank Buddy 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.
S. Barry Eiden, OD
Non-Surgical Alternative to Management of Exposure Keratopathy Using Scleral Contact Lenses
We are all becoming more aware of alternative uses for scleral lenses. One such application is for the management of ocular surface disease. Exposure keratitis is often an unfortunate outcome of facial palsy due to the inability of the eyelid to blink and close properly.
A recent case report publication shared the experience of using scleral contact lenses for the management of exposure keratitis associated with facial palsy.1 Three patients (four eyes) who had acoustic neuroma—two unilateral and one bilateral—and who underwent acoustic neuroma surgeries that resulted in facial palsy were presented. Gold implant and lateral tarsorrhaphy were not effective for corneal protection.
Two participants (cases 1 and 2) suffered continuous pain and epiphora. They had to apply a thick lubricant—Refresh Lacri-Lube ointment (Allergan, Inc.)—several times daily to the affected eye for 15 years. The vision of these patients in the affected eyes was counting fingers (CF) at one foot. A third participant with bilateral facial palsy had exposure keratitis in both eyes, resulting in constant epiphora, pain, and blurred vision. The four eyes were fit with mini-scleral lenses. The lenses were 15.8mm GPs filled with preservative-free saline solution that continuously covers the cornea during all wearing hours.
The outcomes of the use of the lenses were all positive. In cases 1 and 2 with unilateral facial palsy, vision improved through the mini-scleral lenses to 20/30 and all of their symptoms were relieved. The keratitis in case 3 with bilateral facial palsy disappeared within one week of mini-scleral lens use. Follow up for two years showed that these patients maintained good vision with no side effects. The authors stated that the mini-scleral lenses protected the cornea, provided comfort, and improved the vision and the quality of life of these three patients who have facial palsy and should be considered for other patients who have facial palsy and secondary exposure of the ocular surface.
The use of scleral lenses can benefit our patients in many ways, including vision rehabilitation, ocular surface rehabilitation, and others. This series of case reports confirms the application of scleral lens technologies in the management of keratitis that ensued from exposure secondary to facial palsy. We should continue to consider the variety of ways that all forms of contact lenses can be used to benefit our patients. As I have stated at the end of many of my contact lens lectures: “Be creative and have the tools to make it happen.”
1. Zaki V. A non-surgical approach to the management of exposure keratitis due to facial palsy by using mini-scleral lenses. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Feb;96:e6020.
OCULAR SURFACE UPDATE
Katherine M. Mastrota, MS, OD
Cleaning Lids and Lashes
For a long time, I have been a proponent of proper eyelid hygiene. I believe proper care of the lid margins and lashes protects the delicate balance necessary for normal ocular function including maintenance of the eyelash follicle and, thereby, proper lash growth and turnover.
There are many commercially available lash and lid cleaning products at the current time. This increasing choice of products is a testament to growing opinion in the eyecare community that lid care plays an important role in adnexa and ocular surface health.
A late 2016 study describes the effects of a new eyelid shampoo on lid hygiene and eyelash length in patients who have meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).1 Interestingly, not only did dry eye symptomatology improve in the study subjects who have MGD, but also eyelash length also was increased in both the study and control group.
Based on personal anecdotal evidence, this result was not a surprise to me. However, we still must wonder whether it is the hygiene product ingredients or the lash line and lid margin cleaning effect that produced this result? Certainly, we must wait for more evidence.
1. Kobayashi A, Ide T, Fukumoto T, Miki E, Tsubota K, Toda I. Effects of a New Eyelid Shampoo on Lid Hygiene and Eyelash Length in Patients with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: A Comparative Open Study. J Ophthalmol. 2016;2016:4292570.
Spherical Soft Contact Lens Designs and Peripheral Defocus in Myopic Eyes
Peripheral retinal defocus has been implicated in myopia progression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of commercially available spherical soft contact lenses (SCLs) on peripheral defocus of adult myopic eyes.
Twenty-five young adults who had spherical equivalent (SE) refractions between –0.50D and –6.00D were enrolled in the study. Cycloplegic autorefraction (right eye) was measured centrally and ±20°, ±30°, and ±40° from the line of sight along the horizontal meridian using an autorefractor. Four commercially available spherical SCLs (CooperVision’s Biofinity, Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Acuvue 2, Bausch + Lomb’s PureVision2, and Alcon’s Air Optix Night & Day Aqua) were evaluated. SE defocus (M) was used to calculate relative peripheral defocus (RPD) while wearing each SCL and relative peripheral refraction of the uncorrected eye. Spherical aberration (SA) changes caused by each SCL were measured along the line of sight by aberrometry. Peripheral defocus was analyzed using repeated-measures analyses of variance (RM-ANOVA). The association between changes in axial SA and the change in peripheral defocus was evaluated using linear mixed models.
The mean age (±SD) and central SE refractive error were 24.0 ± 1.3 years and –3.45D ± 1.42D, respectively. The PureVision2 lens did not change RPD (P = 0.33). Significant myopic shifts on the temporal retina were found with three lenses: Acuvue 2 (–0.29D at 30°; –0.80D at 40°; both P ≤ 0.01), Biofinity (–1.21D at 40°; P = 0.02), and Air Optix Night & Day Aqua (–0.23D at 20°, –0.48D at 30°, and –1.50D at 40°; all P < 0.004). All SCLs caused a negative change in SA. SCLs inducing less negative (more positive) SA changes were associated with a less hyperopic change in RPD.
The study concluded that spherical SCL design can influence the peripheral defocus profile experienced by a myopic eye. The authors found that several, but not all, SCLs reduced peripheral hyperopia. Additionally, differences in how SCL types influence peripheral defocus may have implications for myopia progression.
Moore KE, Benoit JS, Berntsen DA. Spherical Soft Contact Lens Designs and Peripheral Defocus in Myopic Eyes. Optom Vis Sci. 2017 Mar; 94:370-379.