What was the focus for Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV) at ESCRS?
ESCRS has really become the event for surgical ophthalmologists. JJV is all about changing the perspective of eye health and at this year’s show, you could really see the impact JJV has on surgical vision. We presented data across many of our products but the key part, which also makes the connection to optometrists in the UK, is what we showcased on dry eye.
A year ago, we acquired TearScience and a key part of this year’s congress is to showcase how we can improve patient outcomes and make the lives of patients better. Now, there is a lot of interest because surgeons understand that a healthy ocular surface is key to getting the right outcomes for refractive surgery.
What dry eye solutions were presented by JJV?
Over the years, what ophthalmologists have done to treat dry eye is to just treat the symptoms and unblocking meibomian glands manually is very uncomfortable. Now, you really have a solution that is going to the root cause of meibomian gland dysfunction.
The LipiScan Dynamic Meibomian Imager or the LipiView II Ocular Surface Interferometer can take a picture of the meibomian glands to help the practitioner assess their structure. Along with additional tests, this supports the practitioner in making a complete assessment of the patient’s gland health. We also have the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System, which removes blockages from the meibomian glands. These developments support the surgical element of JJV with ocular surface disease and the longer wear of contact lenses. It bridges the gap between ophthalmology and optometry, which is a great thing.
Have you seen an increase in dry eye patients?
People are developing dry eye much earlier now because of the increased use of laptops and phones. Worldwide, dry eye has increased by 5%. It becomes more and more of an issue. Dry eye is heavily related to how well you blink and a lot of patients have an issue where they do not really close the eye. To have the meibomian glands working properly and push out the lipid layers, you really have to blink.
How do you see the relationship between optometrists and ophthalmologists developing?
It really depends on each country’s regulations. The concept of having optometrists doesn’t really exist in Europe, other than in the UK, as well as in the US. Each country and each regulation will allow for a different path. However, optometrists and ophthalmologists care about the same thing – it’s about the health of the patients’ eyes. As such, further collaboration will be required in the future. JJV has just introduced the LipiScan Dynamic Meibomian Imager so there will be a lot of learning to come. This is the chance to bring everyone together in compliance with regulations. We already see it quite a bit in the US. This is a product that was introduced earlier in the US, so collaboration is already happening. The key is education.