Contact lens manufacturers look to the future
LAS VEGAS – Moderator S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO, challenged representatives from the contact lens industry to share what their companies are working on for the future, here at the Global Contact Lens Forum during Vision Expo West.
“We are going to continue to focus on comfort, because that’s paramount,” Michele L. Andrews, OD, senior director of professional and academic affairs, CooperVision, said. “We’re also looking at things to help with patient compliance.
“We’re looking at the presbyopia issue, to give you the feeling that you can see like you used to,” she continued. “Our recent acquisition of Paragon is being incorporated as CooperVision Specialty Eye Care. And we’re learning things in the area of myopia.”
Louise Sclafani, OD, FAAO, vice president, professional affairs, SynergEyes, said her company will continue with presbyopia but, “maintain a mantra towards myopia management.”
Jill Saxon, OD, FAAO, senior director of professional strategy, Bausch + Lomb, said every industry publication is covering myopia and presbyopia management.
“Advancement in those areas will continue over time,” she said. “Keep your eyes open for advances in the toric and multifocal space both from our specialty vision group and soft lens business.”
Alcon will continue to work on innovative surface technologies such as that used in Dailies Total One, “not necessarily surface treatment,” Kevin Roe, OD, FAAO, director, optometry and professional organizations, U.S. Vision Care, Alcon, said.
The company will also emphasize and innovate in the area of presbyopia, he said, and continue its partnership with Verily on smart lens designs for glucose sensing, accommodating contact lenses and possibly accommodative IOLs.
“It’s a ways out, but it will happen,” he said.
Eiden asked the panelists to comment on the disruption of the contact lens industry brought by alternative delivery of products outside of doctors’ practices.
Andrews said CooperVision is a member of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, “and we are working with the American Optometric Association and others to make sure we have a voice as optometrists in where telehealth and telemedicine is going. It’s important for us to have a seat at the table to ensure the doctor-patient relationship is there, making sure patients get the products you prescribe.”
“This has become our No. 1 strategic imperative as a company,” Roe said. “If there’s anything that comes between you and your patient, we are against it. We’re very active on the legislative front.”
He said the contact lens manufacturers are continually asked how it is possible for patients to go online and buy contact lenses for less than the doctors pay the manufacturers.
“We are taking a proactive position on this,” Roe continued.
He said, “Alcon has begun a costly venture where we have dedicated a separate inventory that is for U.S. only, indicated by small U.S. flag logo. It helps us identify a product that has been diverted from authorized channels to unauthorized distributors. We are monitoring Internet sites and taking steps to shut down unauthorized retailers.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Eiden SB, et al. Future trends in contact lenses and ocular surface. Presented at: Vision Expo West, Las Vegas, Sept. 26-29, 2018.
Disclosures: Andrews is employed by CooperVision. Eiden is a consultant, lecturer or conducts research for or has a financial interest in Alcon, Alden, Bausch + Lomb, Brien Holden Vision Institute, CooperVision, Paragon, EyeVis Eye and VisionResearch, SpecialEyes and SynergEyes. Roe is employed by Alcon. Saxon is employed by Bausch + Lomb. Sclafani is employed by SynergEyes.