Positive developments in the contact lens industry have arisen as a result of Covid-19 and the future is looking bright, according to industry leaders at the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) virtual conference.
Key developments from the pandemic discussed at the September conference included:
· The collaboration between industry, practitioners, scientists and educators to dispel myths about the safety of contact lens wear during the early stages of the pandemic
· A lack of socialising and playing sports were the reasons for patients wearing contact lenses less, rather than safety concerns
· Hygiene was now ‘top of mind’ for patients and practitioners
· Improved practice efficiencies through telemedicine
· Increasing demand for online ordering, direct-to-patient delivery and digital engagement
· The acceptance of online learning among industry, practitioners, educators and students
· Enhanced opportunities for contact lens wear due to spectacles causing fogging and to enhance eye appearance when wearing face masks
A panel discussion chaired by IACLE vice president Professor Philip Morgan expressed optimism about the future for contact lens wear and identified major changes to contact lens practice, including the patient journey and the impact of telemedicine, as a result of the pandemic.
Panel member Dr Gary Orsborn, vice president of CooperVision, anticipated a permanent change in the patient journey. “Virtual aftercare appointments, I believe, will improve the situation we have in retaining patients in contact lenses and this should result in fewer dropouts because of the effectiveness of improved virtual communications.”
A recording of the conference is available to IACLE members. The next series of global webinars, on myopia and its management, will run weekly in November.