January 12, 2003

Contact Lenses Today® is edited by Dr. Joseph T. Barr and the staff of Contact Lens Spectrum. This week CLToday® reaches 9,242 readers in 74 countries.

First CLES Meeting Just Around the Corner
The 2003 Contact Lens & Eyecare Symposium (CLES) is rapidly approaching. Hundreds of the three Os will gather at this first CLES meeting at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort January 22-26, 2003. To benefit from the 130 hours of education and the 48 companies showing their latest technology and products, visit or call CLES at (856) 515-CLES. Remember that multiple registrations from the same practice merit substantial discounts.

Pharmaceutical Tx for Myopia in the Works
Novartis Ophthalmics and Valley Forge Pharmaceuticals have entered into a licensing agreement for an eye medication, pirenzepine ophthalmic gel, to treat myopia. Pirenzepine is a relatively selective muscarinic M1 receptor antagonist administered as an eye gel b.i.d. and is expected to reduce the progression of myopia by up to 50%.

So far in Phase II trials, pirenzepine has reduced the progression of myopia by at least 50% in the first 12 months of therapy in myopic children ages 8 to 12. Novartis plans to market the compound worldwide upon successful completion of Phase II and III clinicial trials as well as regulatory approvals.

Alcon's OPTI-FREE EXPRESS NO RUB MPDS Lasting Comfort Formula: Wetter, Fresher, Longer. Opti-Free Express is the first no-rub solution with long-lasting comfort for all soft contact lenses including silicone hydrogels. In a randomized, controlled clinical study, more patients using Opti-Free Express report that their lenses feel comfortable at the end of the day than patients using ReNu MultiPlus*. Opti-Free Express contains Tetronic* 1304, a special hydrating ingredient that allows lenses to retain more moisture for lasting comfort. For more information, contact Alcon at (800) 451-3937 or visit
* ReNu MultiPlus and Tetronic are trademarks of other companies.

AC Lens to Supply with Lenses
The privately held online contact lens seller AC Lens has entered into a three-year agreement with to supply it with contact lenses. Customers place their orders at and the contact lens portion of the order goes to AC Lens, where it's processed and shipped directly to the customer.

CL-Associated Keratitis Trends in S. India
Researchers examined 28 subjects who presented with corneal stromal infiltrate in the contact lens clinic of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, South India, between February 1991 and September 2000. They reviewed the microbiologic profile, clinical course, treatment and outcome in patients who have contact lens-associated microbial keratitis. Lab results showed bacterial infections in 89% of subjects, Pseudomonas being the most common organism (52%). Lab-based medical therapy led to the healing of ulcers in 86% of patients and four patients required penetrating keratoplasty.
Sharma, S; Gopalakrishnan, S; Aasuri, MK; Garg, P; and Rao, GN. Trends in Contact Lens-Associated Microbial Keratitis in Southern India. Ophthalmology; 110(1):138-143(2003).

Editor's Commentary: Pondering the Future of CLs
Last year's litigation between numerous contact lens companies is hopefully well behind us. What will be the most interesting stories this year in the contact lens field? Will many practitioners ever care that there is a GP as well as a soft 30-day continuous wear lens? Will overnight orthokeratology be FDA approved and compete with corneal refractive therapy? Will either of these procedures become commonplace? Will bifocal contact lens or even contact lens sales in general remain flat? I think that there are so many good options out there that with an improved economy, there will be increased interest, especially if CL Rx rules and high value products make practitioners believe that contact lens prescribing and fitting is worthwhile.

Fitting Tip: Start With the Easiest CL Task
When teaching a new soft contact lens wearer how to insert and remove lenses I always insert the lens myself and first teach them how to remove it. I do this for two reasons: First, most new wearers are apprehensive about what lenses will feel like and letting them experience lens wear while I talk shows them how comfortable lenses are. Second, removing soft lenses is easier than inserting (usually), so it gives the patient a sense of satisfaction early in the process to do the simpler thing first.
-- Andrew Hogan, BSc Optom (Melb), FVCO, Australia

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