A contact lens for each life stage
From children discovering a love of sport to teenagers studying for exams, OT discovers tailored contact lens solutions that can support patients through every life milestone
10 June 2022
A mewling infant, a child creeping like a snail to school, a soldier full of strange oaths.
When Shakespeare described The Seven Ages of Man in 1623, contact lenses were only a dream in the mind of Leonardo da Vinci – who a century before had imagined a person wearing a water-filled glass hemisphere over the eye.
Fast-forward to 2022, and contact lenses are giving people the freedom to enjoy each life stage – without submerging their head in a goldfish bowl.
Children are able to take part in sports without worrying about broken spectacles, office workers can comfortably wear contact lenses thanks to advances in material technology, and multifocal contact lenses offer presbyopes another option for refractive correction.
“With the wide range of contact lenses now available across different materials, modalities and optical designs, contact lenses can support multiple patient lifestyles,” professional education and development manager for Johnson & Johnson Vision, Sheetal Patel, shared with OT.
OT speaks with Patel about how contact lenses can serve as a constant companion through each life milestone.
In childhood, Patel noted that practitioners often only consider the benefits of contact lenses for children who participate in sports or who may refuse to wear glasses because of self-consciousness.
“It can be easy to overlook the positive emotional impact that contact lens wear can have on self-perception and confidence, even for a child who is typically happy to wear their glasses,” she said.
Giving children freedom from glasses – whether full-time, on special occasions, when socialising or playing sport – can be “incredibly empowering,” Patel emphasised.
Daily contact lenses tend to be the best option for children as it removes the need to clean lenses and therefore keeps the risk to a minimum.
“They also allow for the flexible wearing pattern that many children want,” Patel noted.
She added that there has been an increase in digital device use among children.
“It is important to consider contact lens materials that will retain moisture consistently throughout the contact lens wear time and therefore maximise comfort,” Patel highlighted.
As patients move from childhood to adulthood, their lifestyles change, which results in evolving requirements for contact lenses.
Patel noted that practitioners should consider the potential contact lens risks among young adults who wear contact lenses – such as university students accidentally napping or sleeping in contact lenses.
With the wide range of contact lenses now available across different materials, modalities and optical designs, contact lenses can support multiple patient lifestyles
“We must ensure we discuss the risks of this behaviour during history and symptoms and prescribe an appropriate material where necessary,” she said.
As young adults enter the world of work, practitioners should consider how to best support changing lifestyle factors, including increased digital device use.
Other life events – such as getting married, travel and outdoor adventures – may present opportunities where contact lenses can serve a valuable purpose.
“Even with existing contact lens wearers it is important to regularly follow up with patients and ensure that the contact lenses they are wearing continue to meet their needs,” Patel emphasised.
As patients’ lives change over time, with different jobs and hobbies, practitioners have a role to play in keeping then informed about the latest contact lens innovations.
Patel highlighted that as patients become presbyopic, eye care practitioners can offer multifocal correction options.
“Providing this correction option, rather than monovision, allows us to provide patients with the best possible vision, with binocularity maintained and intermediate visual needs met,” she said.
Taking a holistic view of ocular changes within this age group is important, Patel added.
Reduced tear break up time and an increased prevalence of meibomian gland dysfunction means that the contact lens material needs to provide the required moisture during contact lens wear.
“Additionally, it is important to ensure that vision is optimised, and a contact lens takes into account the changes that occur in pupil size not just due to age but also due to the refractive error,” Patel shared.
Eye care professionals have a role in not only offering multifocal contact lens options to existing contact lens wearers, but providing this choice to emmetropes who have become presbyopic and wish to remain spectacle-free.
Contact lens resources for locums
In 2022, JJV will continue to deliver a number of educational events tailored for locums in partnership with the AOP as well as deliver a targeted communication plan for locums to allow them to stay up to date with the latest contact lens information and education.