Lifting the lid on the future of contact lens design

‘Most soft contact lens fittings will be trouble-free,’ BCLA Visionaries Conference is told

21 Nov 2016 by Robina Moss

An increase in the accuracy of computer modelling is resulting in better-quality contact lens design – but there is scope for further improvement in the years to come, according to Professor Graeme Young.

Professor Young was speaking as part of the Pioneers Lecture at the Visionaries Conference in London (14 November), held by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA).

In his presentation titled, Lifting the lid on soft contact lens design, he emphasised that advances in technology were now resulting in better-quality contact lenses.

“Soft contact lenses have improved to such an extent that we take for granted most fittings will be trouble-free,” Professor Young told delegates. “This has come about through gradual improvements in lens design, precision manufacturing and accumulated experience.

“But the technology has not yet developed as far as it can,” he added. “There’s plenty more that can, and will be, done to improve design further.”

At the conference Professor Young also showcased a 'mock' computer-generated eye, which was created after reviewing topography from 164 different eyes.

The Visionaries event was held for the first time at London’s Royal College of Surgeons, and attracted more than 120 attendees. The new venue and the speakers received positive feedback from delegates.

Speaking of Professor Young’s presentation, franchise owner of Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care St Albans, Indie Grewal, said: “He took us on a journey looking at the many things that are considered far less often these days in a soft contact lens fit. He revisited how these measurements directly impact on how a lens performs on the eye.

“From looking at the effect of base curve and sag, to horizontal visible iris diameter and corneal diameter, Graeme also took us through the significance of edge design, both with regard to comfort and ocular physiology.

“Many of these we give a passing thought to when fitting disposable lenses, partly because the parameters are fixed, but if we could individualise a lens fit, which is possible, a tailored fit could have eye care practitioners making full use of topography and optical coherence tomogrophy and bring back a level of speciality when one fit doesn't fit all.”

At the event, Aston University optometry lecturer, Dr Janis Orr, discussed in detail the latest research in myopia management and explored what practitioners can now do in practice to ensure they are at the forefront of the latest thinking and research.

Practice owner, Ian Cameron, gave a presentation titled, Think about the wearer – upgrade the experience not the product, examining ways of thinking differently about patients’ needs to upgrade their experience.

Consultant ophthalmologist, Allon Barsom, discussed innovation in refractive surgery in 2016.

An exhibition was also held as part of the event featuring contact lens and anterior eye specialist companies such as Alcon, CooperVision, Menicon, Johnson & Johnson Visioncare, mark’ennovy and Topcon.

>BCLA president, Brian Tompkins, said: “Visionaries was an action-packed rollercoaster ride of learning that helped shine a light on lenses and gave practitioners the chance to future-proof their practice.”

He concluded: “It’s an exciting time for the industry and it’s essential that we stay on top of the many technical advances that are changing the face of modern contact lens design.”

For more details of future events, visit the BCLA website.

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