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June 18 2012
Contact lens companies pulled out all the stops for the BCLA clinical conference and exhibition. OT’s industry specialist Robina Moss reports on the trade show highlights
The stakes were especially high at this year’s event, with a few jitters beforehand about whether a change of venue to the ICC in the centre of Birmingham would pay off with the attractions of the canal city, including a Caribbean food festival, so close at hand. Exhibitors were also concerned that the long awaited hot weather would be a distraction. In the end, their pre-conference nerves were thankfully unfounded.
The conference attracted 1,203 visitors from 45 countries and they eagerly soaked up all the latest clinical and business information about contact lenses and the updates on the newest product innovations.
A high profile launch came from Bausch + Lomb, which launched a premium daily disposable contact lens, Biotrue Oneday. The lens is made from HyperGel, a material said to have the best features of conventional hydrogels and silicone hydrogels, and promoted as ‘the next generation of daily disposable material’.
Biotrue Oneday was created by the eye health scientists at Bausch + Lomb to be the first daily disposable lens inspired by the biology of the eye. These bio-inspired lenses contain 78% water, the same water content as the cornea, while delivering virtually the same oxygen level as the open eye.
The outer surface of the lens is designed to mimic the lipid layer of tear film, which prevents dehydration of the lens, so delivering the oxygen level the open eye needs to maintain healthy, white eyes.
“Bausch + Lomb is deeply committed to continued innovation in contact lenses and solutions, and today’s introduction of Biotrue Oneday lenses represents another important step towards helping people see better to live better,” said Sheila Hopkins, president, global vision care, Bausch + Lomb. The lenses are being introduced in Europe, initially in Italy, followed by the UK and Nordic countries later in the year.
Alcon also created a buzz at the show after unveiling its new contact lens during its showcase presentations. Delegates were told that Dailies Total1 Water Gradient Silicone Hydrogel contact lenses represent ‘a new era of comfort’ and will be available in the UK later this year. They are the first water gradient silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses featuring an increase from 33% to over 80% water content from core to surface. The contact lens is said to have the highest surface lubricity and the highest breathability (or oxygen transmissibility) of any leading daily disposable contact lens.
Alcon also announced a name change for its recently launched contact lens care solution, Opti-Free EverMoist Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution. The product has been renamed Opti-Free PureMoist Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution (MPDS), to align with the global brand. It is formulated with the wetting agent, HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix, which provides 16 hours of lens wettability.
Presbyopia was a particularly popular market sector targeted at the BCLA event this year.
CooperVision announced the global launch of its Proclear 1 day multifocal contact lens at the conference, days before it officially launched in the UK. The new lens is said to ‘offer practitioners and wearers alike the ideal solution to their presbyopia needs, especially in meeting the challenges of age- related dryness associated with presbyopia’.
Using PC Technology, a material which attracts and maintains moisture, it is the only lens material approved by the FDA for the claim ‘may improve comfort for those who experience dryness or mild discomfort during lens wear’.
By maintaining binocularity, the multifocal lenses overcome the challenges of monovision. Treating both eyes separately, the lenses utilise different powers in each eye to improve vision, while ‘sending separate uncompromised signals to each eye to allow the brain to produce a purer image’.
“With the Proclear 1 day multifocal lens, we are offering simplicity in terms of lens selection and fitting,” said CooperVision’s UK marketing manager, Rob Healey. “Plus, as prescription needs change, the adjustment process is effortless, meaning minimal disturbance to the patient’s vision, as well as shorter appointments.”
To promote awareness at the conference, the company used motor racing to highlight high performance. A ‘Stig’ lookalike promoted the stand number and a popular attraction on the stand, offered delegates the chance to test their driving skills in a racing car on a virtual reality racetrack.
Sauflon showcased clariti 1 day multifocal, ‘the world’s first daily disposable silicone hydrogel multifocal’ at the event and had a Champagne celebration on the stand to mark its success since its recent launch.
“The feedback we have been receiving from eye care practitioners (ECPs) and their patients has been phenomenal and we are very excited about the opportunities this unique lens offers,” said UK sales director, Bradley Wells. “Clariti 1 day multifocal finally meets the unmet need of ECPs and their patients as now, for the first time, patients can benefit from a daily disposable multifocal lens in the healthiest material. One of the key features is its simplicity, and practitioners are reporting high levels of success on initial fitting, thereby reducing valuable chair time and achieving increased wearer satisfaction.
“Clariti 1 day multifocal will be a real practice-builder, allowing the ECPs to fit their presbyopes without compromise. It is a premium lens offered at an affordable price.”
David Thomas Contact Lenses also targeted the presbyopia sector with the launch of its new C2 Silicone Hydrogel monthly Multifocal. The new design in the UK market originates from Precilens, the leading presbyopic lens design house in France. “The launch is going very well,” Graham Avery told OT at the exhibition. “We had trials in the UK with selected practitioners which showed very promising results. There’s been a lot of interest on the stand.”
The company also previewed a new ‘revolutionary packaging’ for daily disposable lenses, which is expected to be launched in the UK in the autumn. The new global brand name of the product is under wraps, but it has been launched in Japan under the ‘Magic’ brand name. The novel flat pack has been created with Menicon’s proprietary technology and manufactured at the company’s state-of-the- art facility in Singapore. It measures 12.5% of the thickness and just 40% of the volume of a conventional contact lens pack. It is said to be the world’s flattest and most compact lens pack. Designed for carrying in a pocket, purse or a wallet, it is expected to be popular among air travellers who can keep it on their person when flying.
The flat-pack’s design is highly hygienic. It always exposes the outer surface of the lens first, reducing the likelihood of the wearer touching the inner surface of the lens and thus preventing bacteria or debris from coming into contact with the cornea. “It is specially designed to promote patient compliance and is ideal for the occasional contact lens wearer,” added Mr Avery.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care demonstrated the UV-blocking properties of its Acuvue contact lenses, and on the stand highlighted the dangers of UV radiation. Delegates were offered the chance to have their eyes photographed with a UV fluorescence camera and then have their macular pigment density checked with an MPod to see if they had early UV pre-clinical changes. Some practitioners were shocked to find that they did. Delegates could also have their face checked for UV damage. The company also highlighted its ‘Support 360’ campaign to support the practitioner, their business and the patient ‘from every angle’.
It was gratifying to see so many innovations at the conference proving popular.
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