Pioneers lecture lifts the lid on the future of contact lens design

Pictured above: BCLA President Brian Tompkins presenting this year's Pioneers award to Prof Graeme Young

Pictured above: BCLA President Brian Tompkins presenting this year’s Pioneers award to Prof Graeme Young

An increase in the accuracy of computer modelling is resulting in better quality contact lens design – but there’s scope for further improvement in the years to come.

Speaking as part of the Pioneers lecture at the British Contact Lens Association’s Visionaries conference in London, Prof Graeme Young said advances in technology were now resulting in better quality lenses. He added: “Soft contact lenses have improved to such an extent that we take for granted most fittings will be trouble-free.  This has come about through gradual improvements in lens design, precision manufacturing and accumulated experience. But the technology has not yet developed as far as it can. There’s plenty more that can and will be done to improve design further.”

The lecture was met with widespread acclaim from delegates, and optometrist Indie Grewal said: “He took us on a journey looking at the many things that are considered far less often these days in a soft contact lens fit. He revisited how these measurements directly impact how a lens performs on the eye. From looking at the effect of base curve and sag, to HVID and corneal diameter, Graeme also took us through the significance of edge design both with regard to comfort and ocular physiology. Many of these we give a passing thought to when fitting disposable lenses, partly because the parameters are fixed, but if we could individualise a lens fit, which is possible, a tailored fit could have eyecare practitioners making full use of topography and OCT and bring back a level of speciality when one fit doesn’t fit all.”

Prof Young also showcased a ‘mock’ computer-generated eye which was put together after reviewing topography from 116 different eyes.

The Visionaries event, held for the first time at London’s Royal College of Surgeons, saw more than 120 attendees enjoy a series of lectures, with positive feedback from exhibitors and delegates alike about the new venue and the line-up of expert speakers.

Dr Janis Orr discussed in detail the latest research in myopia management and explored what practitioners can now do in practice, ensuring they are at the forefront of the latest thinking and research.

Ian Cameron examined ways of thinking differently about the patients’ needs to upgrade their experience and Allon Barsom, consultant ophthalmologist, discussed where 2016 finds us in innovation in refractive surgery.

BCLA President Brian Tompkins said: “Visionaries was an action-packed rollercoaster ride of learning which helped shine a light on lenses and gave practitioners the chance to future-proof their practice. It’s an exciting time for the industry and it’s essential that we stay on top of the many technical advances that are changing the face of modern contact lens design.”