Developing contact lens technology at Global Contact Lens Forum
New York— At its fourth annual gathering at Vision Expo East, the Global Contact Lens Forum addressed developing technologies with research and development (R&D) scientists, evidence-based eye care, and contact lens practice settings.
Moderator Scot Morris, OD, FAAO, ABO, discussed how contact lens manufacturers develop new technology with a panel of industry R&D representatives.
The panel included:
• George L. Grobe III, PhD, vice president of surgical and vision care R&D at Bausch + Lomb (B+L)
• Nancy Keir, senior director of new technologies R&D at CooperVision
• Kurt J. Moody, OD, FBCLA, FAAO, director of clinical new product development, vision care, at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC)
• George Yao, PhD, global vision care R&D head at Alcon
• Vic McCray, MD, CEO, at Tangible Science
• Neal White, vice president of R&D at SynergEyes
Coming up with new ideas
Dr. Grobe says that all ideas at B+L begin with the patient and the doctor.
“Ideas may be inspirational goals, incremental goals, or a combination of the two,” he says. “Or they could come from defects in a material or a design and how to move forward to the next state. We come up with a budget, then decide which projects we’re going to fund. Should one project fall off, another one is waiting to go.”
Dr. Yao that Alcon looks to external and internal idea generating.
“It’s about small scale feasibility, then it goes to manufacturing,” he says. “It’s not just research development, it’s manufacturing and marketing early on. It’s joint team leadership.”
Dr. Moody says that JJVC attempts to mimic nature if patient and doctor needs focus on the contact lens material.
Dr. Yao wants anything new to ensure minimal interruption to the tear film as well as make the lens affordable to mass customers.
Thinking about new materials
Dr. Grobe says the hardest thing is keeping an open mind to a new idea.
White says top of mind is ensuring the material will do what contact lens prescribers need: fit a regular cornea and fit most patients.
Dr. McCray says it’s key to separate the underlying material from the surface product.
Keir looks for a material to make a clinical change and agrees that it’s about keeping an open mind.
Says Dr. Moody: “We’re still not addressing major obstacles. How can we take vision to the next level?”