CPD and Education library

Study and gain CPD points through OT’s online CPD exams, and access archived CPD and CET articles, Practice team resources and Skills guides in our Education library

Find out more

Science and vision

News and features about the latest scientific developments and advances in optometry, ophthalmology and eye medicine

Find out more

Professional support

News and features about the latest developments relating to professional support from across optics. This includes updates from optical organisations such as the AOP and the GOC

Find out more

In practice

News and in-depth features about business management and career development in optics

Find out more


Explore the latest UK and global jobs in the optical sector for optometrists, dispensing opticians and more

Find out more

“CLEAR will make a tangible, long-lasting difference to eye health”

OT  spoke with BCLA president, Indie Grewal, ahead of the publication of the Contact Lens Evidence-based Academic Reports in March

one contact lens
Pexels/Roman Koval
The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has confirmed it will be publishing a new global consensus report to deliver evidence-based guidance on all aspects of prescribing and fitting contact lenses.

The Contact Lens Evidence-based Academic Reports (CLEAR) is expected to “set the standard” to which researchers and eye care professionals will refer for the latest information in the field, the BCLA suggested.

CLEAR will feature 10 overview papers, each compiled by a panel chaired by internationally renowned experts. The reports will cover topics including the anatomy and physiology of the eye, the effect of lens materials and designs, orthokeratology, contact lens complications and future applications of contact lenses.

The world of contact lenses is moving fast, never more so than today

Indie Grewal, president of the BCLA

Executive chair of CLEAR, Professor James Wolffsohn, said the collaboration between experts to bring the reports together had been “inspiring and productive, despite the enforced virtual nature of the interactions.”

“Putting together these reports has been an amazing journey of discovery, bringing together gems of evidence to inform clinical practice, identifying areas where further research is needed and determining where there are opportunities for new innovations from industry,” Professor Wolffsohn continued.

Available for both BCLA members and non-members, the CLEAR report will be published in March as part of the BCLA journal Contact Lens and Anterior Eye.

Ahead of publication, OT spoke with Indie Grewal, president of the BCLA, to find out more about CLEAR

How did the idea for the guide come about? Was it driven by practitioners seeking evidence-based guidance or a sense from educators that there was a knowledge gap that needed to be addressed?

Indie Grewal (IG): The idea was borne from both practitioners and academics. The world of contact lenses is moving fast, never more so than today, and it was felt that pulling together decades worth of research to understand how they inform clinical practice would help benefit eye care professionals (ECPs) who wanted to provide the best possible service to their patients. It’s an exciting, agenda-setting piece of work and will no doubt form a central point of reference for the BCLA Clinical Conference later this year.

How long has CLEAR taken to put together? 

IG: The idea for the CLEAR report started to come together in mid-2019. It will be available in March – April 2021 so it’s almost two years of work. It’s a highly anticipated document that will influence the way we work for years to come. The reports are to be published exclusively in CLAE and will be freely available online for one year. A printed copy will also be sent to BCLA members.

How do you hope this report will support optometrists and contact lens practitioners in practice?

IG: This will be the 'go-to' guide for eye care professionals fitting contact lenses, a little like the TFOS DEWS2 is a reference for dry eye and the International Myopia Institute white papers have become a standard for anyone involved in myopia management. The hope is that ECPs will regularly use the CLEAR report to improve their clinical knowledge and use best practice when seeing patients in the consulting room. It will make a tangible, long-lasting difference to eye health.

It’s a highly anticipated document that will influence the way we work for years to come

Indie Grewal, president of the BCLA

What has the process of putting the report together virtually been like?

IG: Many of our authors are used to working in many different ways and have taken to working remotely amazingly well. Using cloud-based storage has allowed authors unlimited, round-the-clock access and the ability to share articles and ideas in real-time. Like many of us, working virtually has become a fact of life and further proof of the adaptability and resilience that we see every day in the profession.

What have been some of the stand-out findings or topics in the report?

IG: Globally renowned academics and researchers have put together detailed guidance on a range of subjects including anatomy of the eye, biochemistry of lens materials and solutions, the effect of lens materials and designs on the eye, contact lens complications, the medical use of contact lenses, contact lens optics, and the future applications of contact lenses. There is also a chapter on evidence-based contact lens practice. No stone has been left unturned. It’s a comprehensive document that will influence the way we work every day.

Professor Wolffsohn suggested the reports identify areas where further research is needed, as well as opportunities for industry innovation. Could you touch on what some of these areas might be?

IG: The report highlights some areas where potentially confusing terminology has arisen. For example, why is the term ‘gas permeable’ used for rigid corneal lenses when all modern-day contact lenses are gas permeable? What exactly is ‘extended wear’? Some of the terminology used for corneal layers does not reflect international conventions. Challenges for future research and innovations by industry revolve around comfort, particularly for patients with ocular surface challenges such as dry eye, and a wider range of optical options to suit all presbyopes. However, there is so much more that will be in the reports and presented during the virtual conference in June.