How will ophthalmology evolve in 2016?

December 30, 2015

Ophthalmology Times spoke with its Editorial Advisory Board members to get their thoughts on how the field of ophthalmology is growing, what advances they are highly anticipating, and what major hurdles ophthalmologists will face in 2016. A special thanks to Peter J. McDonnell, MD, Randall Olson, MD, Andrew G. Lee, MD, Sharon Fekrat, MD, and Robert K. Maloney, MD, for giving us a sneak peak at what the new year will bring.


 

Ophthalmology Times spoke with its Editorial Advisory Board members to get their thoughts on how the field of ophthalmology is growing, what advances they are highly anticipating, and what major hurdles ophthalmologists will face in 2016.

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A special thanks to Peter J. McDonnell, MD, Randall Olson, MD, Andrew G. Lee, MD, Sharon Fekrat, MD, and Robert K. Maloney, MD, for giving us a sneak peak at what the new year will bring.

Want to see how their predictions stacked up? Click here to learn how ophthalmology changed in 2016!

 

 

Where do you see the most growth in the field of ophthalmology?

Dr. McDonnell: “To serve the needs of the U.S. population, our specialty will have to continue to learn how to provide care more efficiently, to more people, at lower costs.  A true challenge, but ophthalmology has quite a track record in this regard.”

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Dr. Olson: “We are close to approval of the Symfony IOL (Abbott Medical Optics, see photo above) and the Light Adjustable Lens IOL (Calhoun Vision), both of which I see as game-changers in the refractive premium IOL market.”

 

 

 

(Cont.) Where do you see the most growth in the field of ophthalmology?

Dr. Lee: “Molecular genetics, Small molecules as drug delivery targets, and nanotechnology.”

Dr. Fekrat: “Imaging technology.”

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Dr. Maloney: “I foresee major growth in femtosecond laser cataract surgery in 2016.  Those of us who do this regularly feel we are stepping back into olden times when we do standard cataract surgery.”

 

 

 

What advances are you anticipating in the coming year?

Dr. McDonnell: “The first corneal inlay was recently approved as a therapy for presbyopia, and it will be interesting to see how that fares in the marketplace (see photo above, KAMRA inlay [AcuFocus, Inc.] next to contact lens).  Also, my counterparts outside the United States have had very positive results with corneal crosslinking, and it would be wonderful, in my opinion, to see this technology get approved for use here.”

Dr. Olson: “New dry eye products.”

Read more about the KAMRA inlay compared to lens-based options

 

(Cont.) What advances are you anticipating in the coming year?

Dr. Lee: “The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Second Sight Medical Products, see photo above) and stem cell transplants.”

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Dr. Fekrat: “Advances that I am anticipating in the future, but not necessarily in the next year, include tele-ophthalmology and self diagnosis with apps.”

Dr. Maloney: “An alternative to skyrocketing generic drop prices.”

 

 

Where do you think the ophthalmic community will stand a year from now?

Dr. McDonnell: “The number of brilliant, incredibly qualified medical students seeking ophthalmology residencies in the United States today far exceeds the number of available training slots. This allows us to be extremely selective.  So we have a pipeline of the best and brightest pursuing careers in our specialty, and this obviously augurs well for the continued vibrancy and success of our field.”

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Dr. Olson: “With a lot of exciting news and breakthrough in a host of areas.”

 

 

 

(Cont.) Where do you think the ophthalmic community will stand a year from now?

Dr. Lee: “I think that we are well positioned for continued growth and technological innovation.”

Dr. Fekrat: “A year from now the ophthalmic community will probably be very much the same.”

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Dr. Maloney: “More and more of us will be using fewer post-op topical drops.  For standard post-op regimens, compounding pharmacies will play a bigger role in offering drops at a reasonable price in 2016.”

 

 

 

What do you see as the major hurdles we will be confronting?

All of our board members agree on the answer: decreasing reimbursements.

Dr. Fekrat says by cutting these reimbursement rates, it “undervalues the training, service, and decision-making provided.” Dr. Maloney is optimistic and says that regardless, “we’ll soldier through.”

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