In contact: Opportunities provided by contact lens fitting not to be ignored

January 15, 2012
Cheryl Guttman Krader, BS, Pharm

A review of the current landscape and look to the future identifies multiple reasons why contact lens fitting should be part of a comprehensive ophthalmology practice.

Key Points

Orlando, FL-A review of the current landscape and look to the future identifies multiple reasons why contact lens fitting should be part of a comprehensive ophthalmology practice, said Michael H. Goldstein, MD, MBA, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

"The short answer as to why contact lenses are important in a comprehensive practice is that our patients are asking for them," said Dr. Goldstein, co-director, cornea and external disease service, New England Eye Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston. "However, ophthalmologists should not ignore that the contact lens market is a large and growing segment in eye care and an area with many important developments on the horizon," he said.

Additional applications

Aside from refractive correction, expertise with contact lenses is also important in a variety of other practice situations. Contact lenses are used for diagnosing different corneal pathologies, they are needed to do a monovision trial before offering this approach as a refractive surgery option, and they have various therapeutic applications, Dr. Goldstein said.

Furthermore, lens technology and lens-care products continue to improve and the uses for contact lenses are also expanding. For example, contact lenses are being used or developed as a platform for amniotic membrane placement, as a tool for monitoring blood glucose and IOP, and as a drug delivery system.

"Clearly there are many exciting reasons for ophthalmologists to be involved with contact lenses," Dr. Goldstein said.

Discussing some of the current issues in contact lenses for refractive correction, Dr. Goldstein said that soft contact lenses account for the bulk of the market, almost 90%, and there has been a shift in materials for the soft contacts, with use of silicone hydrogel lenses on the rise.

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