Article Date: 3/1/2005

contact lens management
New Technology, Better Care

A new family of GP materials offer superior wettability, comfort and more.

As a private practice optometric physician in a northwestern college community, I'm always looking for contact lens options that will meet my patients' needs for excellent visual acuity, eye health, durability and wearability -- while still maintaining practice profitability for myself. GP lenses are my first choice to meet both sets of needs, but many patients come to me with preconceived ideas about the safety and comfort of rigid/hard lenses.

In the spring of 2004, I was introduced to the Optimum family of GP materials from Contamac USA Inc., and our practice conducted a small informal performance study of these new materials. Our goal: to see whether the new materials provided a noticeable improvement to our patients.

Contamac offers four new materials.

Setting them up

The Optimum lens family consists of four different materials (Classic, Comfort, Extra and Extreme) that have a permeability range from 26 to 125 (revised Fatt/ISO method) and wetting angles of 3 to 12 (see table). Because of the wide range of materials available, I placed no restrictions regarding age, gender, occupation or lifestyle on the patients I was to fit. I dispensed the lenses to patients with a full range of prescriptions in both single-vision and multifocal designs.

Over a period of two to three months, we supplied 103 patients with the new materials. All had worn GP lenses previously. Of the sample, 20% of the eyes received the Optimum Classic, 30% received the Optimum Comfort, 27% received the Optimum Extra, and 23% received the Optimum Extreme.

Survey says . . .

It's now almost a year since the first patients started wearing these new materials and 80% to 90% of those responding to our follow-up survey have responded positively to the following questions:

► Is your overall comfort either very good or excellent?

► Are you able to wear your lenses as long as you would like each day?

► Is your "end of day" comfort either excellent or very good?

► Are these lenses as good or better than your previous lenses? One-third of respondents said that the new lenses were much better than the their old lenses. Only five participants wanted to return to wearing their previous lenses.

Putting in my two cents

On a personal note, I'm an 8.00D myopic presbyope and have been wearing rigid lenses for 43 years. During those years, I've worn almost every available innovation in rigid lenses. While I've tried many hydrophilic options, I always return to rigid lenses because of their ease of care, their durability and reproducibility and the quality of vision that they provide. I've been wearing the Optimum Extreme material in a translating bifocal design for the last 10 months and it's the best GP material that I've experienced to date.

It's clear to me that the Optimum family of GP lenses is highly wettable and comfortable. The higher Dk and low wetting angle of the Comfort, Extra and Extreme materials enable me to deliver to my patients easy adaptation to wear, on-the-eye comfort and longer wearing time without compromising corneal health. The durability of the materials allows me to position GPs as the patient's most cost-effective option over the long term, as well as maintain profitability for my practice.



Optometric Management, Issue: March 2005