CANDID CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN OPTOMETRIC OFFICE’S RICHARD CLOMPUS AND LEADING OPTICAL EXECUTIVES ABOUT THEIR PRODUCT STRATEGIES.
With more than 20 years of clinical, academic, research, and commercial eyecare experience, Carla Mack, OD, MBA, FAAO, joined Alcon in early 2014 as the company’s Director of Professional and Clinical Support. Dr. Mack now utilizes her clinical and technical expertise to help drive Alcon’s professional communications strategy.
Richard Clompus: How can our colleagues help their patients enjoy wearing their contact lenses for many years?
Carla Mack: Patients stop wearing contact lenses because they are uncomfortable. Period. The reason the lenses feel uncomfortable may vary greatly. Perhaps they’re using an older technology lens that doesn’t strike the right balance between wettability, breathability, and deposit resistance. They could be suffering from dry eye or have a less than optimal ocular surface. Or maybe they’re wearing a modality that’s known for having lower compliance relative to replacement schedule. Additionally, we know that as patients become presbyopic, vision becomes a much bigger factor relative to dropping out of lens wear. The list can go on, but the point is that we need to do things differently if we are going to change the 15% annual drop-out rate, which hasn’t moved in more than 20 years.
At Alcon, we see innovation as the game changer. First, we strive to develop innovative products that deliver a comfortable contact lens wearing experience all day long. We then focus on ocular surface wellness. We prepare the ocular surface for contact lens wear and choose lenses that are designed to interact favorably with the tear film. And then we’re shifting our thinking that hydrogen peroxide contact lens care products have the opportunity to be problem preventers and not just problem solvers.
Richard: What products does Alcon have to address comfort and reduce the risk of dropout?
Carla: Material, manufacturing, surface, and optical technologies are all components that can impact contact lens performance. In the last two years we’ve seen a huge upsurge in new products, from the launch of the first water gradient contact lens, DAILIES‘ Total 1, to the introduction of DAILIES AquaComfort Plus‘ Toric and DAILIES AquaComfort Plus Multifocal contact lenses and AIR OPTIX‘ COLORS. These technologies give the eyecare professional more options to provide patients with comfortable vision in contact lenses for longer periods of time. Our goal is to help patients see, feel, and look their best.
Richard: There have been two major FDA-approved modalities for prescribing contact lens care systems for patients: multi-purpose solutions and preservative-free peroxide systems. Do you see any developing trends in lens care systems?
Carla: Hydrogen peroxide-based disinfection systems are known for their exceptional efficacy and ocular
biocompatibility to ocular surface tissue. However, multipurpose solutions have dominated the lens care category because of their simplicity. There’s plenty of focus on the contact lens care category right now with new FDA and ISO standards directed at patient non-compliance and clinically relevant pathogens. However, CLEAR CARE‘ has long been known as the gold standard in lens care because of its powerful disinfection even in the presence of bacterial and fungal biofilms, yet it’s still safe, gentle, and preservative free.
The time is ripe for innovation with peroxides. We need to encourage eyecare professionals and patients to consider hydrogen peroxide care solutions as a regimen for all planned replacement contact lens wearers and not just a problem-solving or second-line cleaning regimen. CLEAR CARE PLUS Cleaning and Disinfecting Solution, which is now available, provides the same preservative-free disinfection as CLEAR CARE with the addition of the HydraGlyde‘ Moisture Matrix technology found in OPTI-FREE‘ PureMoist‘. OO