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Opchat Magazine Contact Lens PagesContact Lens News, January to March 2016

No7 at OPTRAFAIR shows value of specialism.

IACLE announces 2016 Awards winners from three global regions.

BCLA UK ‘Big Weekend’ will help practitioners get confident with contact lenses and dry eye.

BCLA Asia Issues Call For Papers.

Exeter Pharmacy Tech sleeps off his Myopia.

Kent Youngsters Sleep Off Their Myopia.

Irregular corneas provide dispensing challenges.

IACLE to welcome new Fellows from around the world.

BCLA UK: Maximising your potential.

BCLA Seeks New Student Ambassadors.

Ortho-k has “massive UK potential".

England rugby player keeps a close eye on the ball.

No7 at OPTRAFAIR shows value of specialism.

March 2016

Profit from specialisation is the message from No7 Contact Lenses at Optrafair, with a clear plan to grow your business.

No 7 Optrafair
An investment in a topographer will reap rewards, with the ability to fit sophisticated lenses for irregular corneas and engage patients and their children with Ortho-k myopia control.

“The potential for Ortho-k is enormous – we have patients from eight years to 85, with one thing in common – they all want to be spectacle and lens free during the day.  The added advantage of myopia control is a message which is very well received by parents and children alike,” said Danny Pepper, No7 Sales and Marketing Manager.

“The purchase of a Medmont topographer can return a profit of £37,000 over a three year period by just fitting two new Ortho-k patients each month.  The value of having these patients being retained by the practice – with regular monthly payments - cannot be ignored,” he added.

Find out more at No7’s stand and book yourself in for one of the free to attend CET educational regional roadshows which include Dublin and Newcastle.

IACLE announces 2016 Awards winners from three global regions.

March 2016

Educators from Colombia, India, the United Kingdom and Jordan will soon be stepping up to the stage to receive prestigious awards from the International Association of Contact Lens Educators.

IACLE has today announced the winners of the 2016 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards to recognise and reward achievement in contact lens education worldwide, and the IACLE Travel Award for an educator starting out on his/her career. Each will receive a bursary of up to US$3,000 towards the cost of attending a major international conference during 2016.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from CooperVision, three Educator of the Year Awards will be presented, one from each of IACLE’s three global regions. Our winners and their comments on receiving the awards are:

IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Jorge VargasDr Jorge Giovanni Vargas
Universidad de La Salle, Facultad de Optometria, Colombia
‘I am very happy to have been selected as this year’s recipient of the IACLE Educator of the Year Award for the Americas region. Teaching contact lenses is my passion!’



IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Prema ChandeDr Prema Chande
Principal, Lotus College of Optometry, Mumbai, India.
‘I feel honored and humbled to receive this award from IACLE as many educators contribute to teaching contact lenses across the region and I was chosen among them to receive it. I look forward in future to continue contributing to the growth of the contact lens industry by way of education and research.’


IACLE Europe / Africa – Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Jorge VJames WoolffsonargasProfessor James Wolffsohn
Deputy Dean of Life and Health Sciences and a Professor of Optometry at Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
‘I am very honored to have been awarded IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year for the Europe / Africa – Middle East region. I very much enjoy engaging young minds as to the possibilities afforded by contact lens practice, to enhance the lives of their patients while building a challenging and fulfilling career path for themselves.’


The IACLE Travel Award is a travel bursary for an IACLE Educator Member starting out on his/her career who would not otherwise be able to attend a major international conference. The annual Award is funded by IACLE.

This year’s recipient is Eman Alzghuol, lecturer in contact lenses at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.

‘This is an amazing experience that will change my life and enhance my career by giving me a great chance to meet the pioneers in the optometry field from all over the world, to share our knowledge and to gain a new experience. All of this would not be happened without this award. Thanks to IACLE and many thanks to its staff, educators and Fellows.’

This year, for the first time, IACLE Awards winners were offered a choice of international meetings to attend as their prize. All have chosen to travel to the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry. Academy 2016 takes place in Anaheim, California, USA from 9-12 November.

IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo congratulated all this year’s winners on their success: ‘As ever, the decision whom to award Educator of the Year was very difficult. We had a high calibre of applications and have three very worthy recipients from our three regions. The Travel Award this year recognised an early-career educator who will benefit from attending an international meeting that she might otherwise have been unable to attend.

Eman ‘IACLE is grateful to CooperVision for its continued support of the Educator of the Year Awards, and to all our sponsors for their support of IACLE and the Travel Award.’

‘Congratulations to the 2016 Educators of the Year, who are playing a vital role in advancing and expanding the world’s knowledge of contact lenses through their tireless and passionate work,’ said Dr Gary Orsborn, Vice President of Global Professional & Clinical Affairs for CooperVision. ‘We’re privileged to partner with IACLE once again to support these honours, helping further deepen and extend our longstanding commitment to the profession and global eye health.’

BCLA UK ‘Big Weekend’ will help practitioners get confident with contact lenses and dry eye.

March 2016

Contact lenses in children, dry eye management, ocular surface disease and aftercare techniques will come under the microscope as part of a series of expert lectures taking place as part of a new format BCLA meeting this year.

BCLA UK is being held at The Belfry in June, giving eye-care professionals the chance to learn more about contact lenses and anterior eye to ‘maximise their own potential’ and that of their practice.

The two-day conference will give practitioners the opportunity to brush up on the basics of contact lens fitting and find out more about how they can help grow their business via a series of guest lectures delivered by top industry professionals.

Cheryl Donnelly, chief executive of the BCLA, said: “We want to give UK eye care practitioners more confidence when it comes to contact lenses and dry eye management.

“By laying on a series of high-profile lectures looking at some of the biggest topics in the contact lens industry we are giving delegates a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills which will last them a lifetime.”

There is something for everyone in the programme, showcasing a new session; Room 101 and lectures to be delivered by globally renowned experts including Dr Kat Evans and Professors Lyndon Jones, Phil Morgan and James Wolffsohn .

Delegates will have the chance to attend 10 guest lectures and take part in up to 12 workshops.

Workshops will include sessions on both clinical and business skills, looking at Dermodex and red-eye, RGPs, Ortho-K, mini scleral lenses and dry-eye diagnosis and management.

A series of four business streams will be shown on the second day, looking at subjects including myopia management strategy and OCT use in anterior segment.

BCLA UK is being held at The Belfry on June 12 - 13 and tickets are now on sale at a discounted ‘early-bird’ rate. Places are limited and early booking is strongly advised.

Book your place now at

BCLA Asia Issues Call For Papers.

March 2016

The BCLA and the Hong Kong Cornea and Contact Lens Society (HKCCLS) are delighted to issue a Call for Papers and Posters for the BCLA Asia conference, taking place on 13-14 September 2016 in Hong Kong.

BCLA Asia “Correction for the Future” will include sessions blending the latest research and clinical guidance on topics such as myopia control, dry eye management and presbyopia. There also will be a range of hands-on workshops covering clinical skills, business and presentation/research skills as well as an exhibition enabling delegates to interface with the latest products and future strategies and innovations.

This is such an exciting collaboration for the BCLA. The conference is designed to showcase world class clinically relevant research and to nurture new researchers, clinicians and young academics to present at this level,” said BCLA CEO, Cheryl Donnelly. “It provides a perfect opportunity to hear the latest research including that from the talented researchers in Asia.”

“BCLA Asia is part of the Hong Kong Cornea and Contact Lens Society’s mission to promote quality eye and contact lens care by providing our members with updated resources and support to better serve the community,” said Helen Eng, President, HKCCLS. “We look forward to seeing a wide range of submissions for the conference and to having the opportunity to showcase the work of up-and-coming stars in the contact lens field.”

Submissions should be in the form of abstracts (max 300 words) and will be presented as a paper or digital posters (to be allocated by the Academic Committee) with case reports also encouraged. They should be submitted at from 8 March 2016. Final deadline is midnight (BST) 1 May 2016. All abstracts will be published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye (CLAE).

The BCLA is offering a pre‐screening service for entries submitted by 1 April 2016. All entries requesting pre-screening, will be reviewed by a member of the BCLA Academic committee, who will provide comments to the first author. This is not a guarantee of acceptance and authors are responsible for submitting their final abstract by the deadline.

Exeter Pharmacy Tech sleeps off his Myopia.

March 2016

Josh RewThe problems of dry eyes and struggling with contact lenses during the day are now a thing of the past for Exeter pharmacy technician Josh Rew, who is using Ortho-k.

Josh, 28, had been having problems with daily disposable contact lenses since he picked up an eye infection when swimming in Egypt two years ago. Since then, he has struggled with dry eyes and had to restrict the time he wore his lenses during the day.

With his prescription being around -2.75D he needs full time correction.

“It was very frustrating as I am very sporty – running marathons, going to the gym and playing competitive football. My optician knew I didn’t like wearing glasses and so suggested that I try Ortho-k – a system of vision correction which works as you sleep.

Topography chart“I just pop the tailor-made lenses in at night after I have cleaned my teeth and take them out in the morning. It is brilliant for me to wake up with good vision and to be free all day, with good vision – I wouldn’t go back to wearing glasses and daily disposable lenses now,” he said.

Josh comes from a very myopic family and is heartened to hear that Ortho-k not only corrects your vision as you sleep but also appears to have a myopia limiting effect, particularly in youngsters.

Nicki Pullen, his optometrist in Ottery St Mary, explained –

“There have been a number of international studies which all indicate that by gently adjusting the cornea we can arrest the progression of myopia, particularly in children. This is of great interest to many parents who fear their children could become as myopic as they are. I have a duty of care to offer Ortho-k to my myopic patients, especially to children as we have the potential to slow down myopia. It has given me, as a practitioner, a renewed enthusiasm about my work as this is very exciting. Both children and adults love Ortho-k and to be free of glasses and their contact lenses during the day – particularly those who like being in the water.”

Kent Youngsters Sleep Off Their Myopia.

March 2016

Neil Donelly's Ortho PxThe “epidemic” of myopia in children is being tackled by a Kent optician who is looking to stop short-sightedness developing in his patients.

Neil Donnelly, who has a practice in Sevenoaks, is using Ortho-k with a group of youngsters who have short-sighted parents and who look likely to become moderately myopic, as he explained, “Ortho-k is a system of vision correction which works while you sleep each night, much as braces work on the teeth. By carefully adjusting the cornea with tailor-made contact lenses, which are worn each night, minute changes occur which result in very good vision upon waking. We are moving the cornea by less than a hair’s width but the results are astounding. What is more, a series of international studies are showing that this means of sight correction is stopping the progression of myopia in its tracks.

“Beyond this aspect of potentially controlling myopia I like the fact that the eyes are free of contact lenses all day and are gaining all the oxygen to the eye - this is a healthy thing, I feel.”

Twelve year old Robert has been joined by his mother, Deborah, in using Ortho-k to correct their myopia.

Both of them are around -2.50D, while Robert’s Dad is -4.00D. For Robert the attraction of Ortho-k was to be free of glasses and contact lenses all day, as well as the myopia control aspect, as he said: “Sometimes I forgot my lenses for sport and I needed prescription swimming goggles for swimming at school and at my local club. Now I don’t have to worry about these things or keeping my glasses in place. It is definitely good that this might stop my short-sightedness developing.”

For his mother, Deborah, she wanted something that could adapt as here eyesight changes, “The attraction of Ortho-k is that I don’t need to wear lenses or glasses during the day. Unlike laser eye surgery, it is a reversible treatment and in my job as a doctor I can’t take any risks with my vision: my eyesight really does need to be spot-on and, so far, Ortho-k is working well.”

Another of Neil’s patients, 11 year old Isabella Green, started to wear glasses just over a year ago but her prescription kept advancing, and she was shocked at not being able to read the board at school even after a recently upgraded prescription to her glasses.

This caused some concern amongst the family as her Dad is -6.00 dioptres.

“I had worn glasses for a few months but my vision was getting worse, so the optician suggested I tried Ortho-k. We tried it and it has worked very well. The lenses are easy to put in and as I like riding, skiing, swimming, netball and hockey it is much better not to be wearing glasses.

“I am really happy as I like to be active, and I am hoping that I won’t end up with vision like Dad’s as all his family have very poor eyesight.”
Isabella’s mother, Louise, is delighted to have discovered Ortho-k.

“Anything that could halt the deterioration in vision is brilliant. Wearing the lenses at night is something that Isabella has taken to very well. It has been so liberating for a child who likes to play so much sport, too,” she said.

Neil added: “Our aim is to achieve the best corrected vision for all of our patients. Ortho-k is an additional tool in fighting the progression of myopia. Children generally do very well with Ortho-k lenses. In the next three years I expect to see the numbers of patients we are fitting with these British-made lenses increase as a result of the very encouraging outcomes.”

Irregular corneas provide dispensing challenges.

February 2016

Topography chartIrregular corneas are increasing in prevalence – caused by a host of factors – and the opportunity for treatment specialisation is open to all practitioners, a CET event told delegates this week.

No7’s bespoke contact lens event looked at the incidence of injury; infection and disease, including Pellucid Marginal Degeneration and Kerataconus; and post-lasik which are all contributing to an increasing incidence of patients needing specialist contact lens care.

Held at Contamac, the award-winning contact lens material producer’s premises in Saffron Walden, the seminar brought together hospital clinicians, independent optometrists and contact lens practitioners keen to enhance their specialisation.

Topography chartUsing corneal topography the hands-on workshops included dispensing of mini-scleral, hybrid, soft and RGP lenses with examples of best practice, as Danny Pepper, No7 Sales and Marketing Manager, explained, “The day provided the confidence to assess and fit a wide range of contact lenses to patients with irregular corneas. We also looked at the well-being of these patients and psychological impact of realising that this is normally a life-long condition,” he added.

Martin Conway, Professional Services Consultant at Contamac spoke about helping patients in accepting the diagnosis. “Many think the answer is a graft: they think the answer is to change the cornea, just as a troubled knee or hip can be replaced. Beyond the complications of the operation and recovery time do patients really want to be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives?” he asked.

Delegates were told that of the 90% of patients who do not undergo a graft contact lenses are their best option.

Alternatives to Gas Permeables

Drew ThompsonDrew Thompson, No7 Professional Services Consultant and an optometrist from Lancashire, challenged the default option of gas permeable lenses. “We know GP lenses are often the first choice for these patients, but we also know they are the least comfortable option. Yes, they provide good vision and are inexpensive, but surely we should try soft and hybrid lenses before resorting to the least comfortable option?

“Dust and grit under the lens is a huge problem for a lot of GP lens wearers – especially those who spend time outside. We have to think about their lifestyle and if they are going to be comfortable in their lenses for 12 hours a day. Thankfully we have somewhere else to go from a dispensing perspective.

“If the patient is getting reasonable vision from specs the indications are that they will get good vision from a soft lens. Unless you try a soft lens you are never going to know if it will work, and if it works that patient will love you. Once patients have found something that works they tend to be very loyal. I fit vastly more scleral, hybrid and soft lenses, and thankfully they are a comfortable and often a more manageable option for patients at what is frequently a distressing time.”

Drew gave a resume of No7’s bespoke options for corneal patients, including Quasar K, a junctionless aspheric which works well for mild to moderate keratoconus patients; the large diameter Dyna Intra Limbal lens, and the engineered centre of the Reflex Kera silicone hydrogel which avoids draping and improves tear flow.

“Thankfully we have the ability to fit with quadrant specific designs allowing one quadrant to be made flatter or steeper than another – ranging from 90 to 270◦. Prism ballast will minimise rotation too. Oblate corneas in post-graft and post lasik patients frequently benefit from reverse geometry lenses, as used in Ortho-k patients,” he added.

“Exciting developments in scleral lenses mean that they offer a new alternative to other modalities, combining close to, if not better, comfort than a soft lens with good vision and corneal protection. Due to the fact that they bear on the sclera, without contact on any part of the cornea, the days of epithelial scarring are long gone. Scleral lenses offer patients a real alternative to surgical intervention and can enhance the quality of life even in the most advanced cases. With the new Comfort 15 lens, designed by No7, and manufactured in their Hastings laboratory, we now have a cost effective option in this lens category,” said Drew.

“The design of soft lenses with additional thickness over the central zone allows the tear film to form giving a more regular astigmatic correction and greatly reducing visual distortions. While hybrid lenses combine the vision of a GP lens with a soft lens skirt for greater comfort: There is no edge sensation, or dust and debris issues.”

Theatre of Topography

Drew promoted the benefits of using a topographer, and in certain cases an OCT, to aid dispensing, providing a picture of the central and peripheral zone, which was particularly valuable in assessing the requirements of keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration patients.

“A keratometer looks at 3mm of the central corneal cap, while a modern topographer gives far more information about what is going on in the peripheral cornea. It is not complicated, just get the patient to blink, blink, stare, for a good tear film layer. If the Placido Mires rings are not continuous then tear layers are breaking down. Certainly turning off the air conditioning in the test room will help. Don’t rush the fitting, but wait for ten minutes for the lens to settle, and review again after 30 minutes,” he said.

Drew discussed the merits of looking at axial, tangential and height maps – checking all to provide the very best picture with red and yellow showing the steeper curves and aqua and blues showing the flatter corneas, but with the analysis left to the experience of technicians at No7’s laboratory.

IACLE to welcome new Fellows from around the world.

February 2016

Contact lens educators in countries from Jordan to Ecuador could soon be adding letters after their names having successfully completed the International Association of Contact Lens Educators’ latest Fellowship Exam.

Held every two years, the Fellowship Exam took place in November 2015. Candidates with a successful outcome who have been IACLE members for 12 months or more can now apply to become Fellows of IACLE and use the affix FIACLE in recognition of their contact lens knowledge.

IACLE ChartA total of 131 members from 29 countries in all three of IACLE’s global regions sat the latest exam and 39% were successful. More than half of candidates (56%) were from IACLE’s Global Priority Countries, which break down as follows:

The Asia Pacific region fielded the most candidates, with 89 in total, followed by the Americas (29) and Europe/Africa-Middle East (13). China (24) and India (23) were the countries contributing the largest numbers, followed by Korea (18). The 2015 Fellowship Exam also saw countries such as Oman and Malawi represented.

A majority of candidates (107) were Educator Members, working full time or part time at a recognised teaching institution, and 24 were Associate Members of whom 13 worked in industry. All IACLE’s Platinum and Silver Sponsors fielded candidates. Most of those sitting the exam were optometrists (62%) although 8% were ophthalmologists.

The highest overall mark was scored by Educator Member Febry Corina, who teaches at Akademi Refraksi Optisi (ARO) Padang in Indonesia. Febry was one of seven candidates who re-sat the Fellowship Exam to refresh and update their knowledge, and is currently a FIACLE.

She commented: ‘IACLE has supported my career as a lecturer ever since I joined. My preparation – reading through the DLP (Distance Learning Program) assignments and preparing my lectures using the IACLE modules all these years – has enabled me to pass the Fellowship Exam.

‘I will continue to register for the exam in the future. I believe passing this exam is prestigious and gives me satisfaction personally.’

Two Educator Members from Korea who sat the exam for the first time took joint second place: Joonho Park of the Eulji University in Daejeon and Hansarang St Mary's Eye Clinic, and Seongin Heo of Daegu Catholic University.

IACLE’s Global Education Manager Lakshmi Shinde commented: ‘The Fellowship Exam is a challenge for any contact lens educator around the world. It’s a milestone that every contact lens educator wants to cross successfully in his/her career. IACLE congratulates all those who have successfully cleared the exam and wishes all of them a great future in the field of education and contact lenses. Wishing you all many more laurels in the profession in the years to come!’

The 2015 Fellowship Exam was the 10th administration. The next exam will be held in November 2017. Anyone interested should start to think about engaging with the IACLE’s Distance Learning Program now to aid their preparation for the next Fellowship Exam.

BCLA UK: Maximising your potential.

February 2016

If you’re a UK eye care practitioner then you need to get these dates in your diary 12 – 13 June 2016

• Is there a perfect patient journey to include contact lenses and dry eye?

• Does your practice team know how to work together to best execute this journey for every patient who enters the practice?

• How you can maximize contact lens wearer retention and reduce dropout rates by ensuring they always have the contact lenses that match their evolving lifestyle needs.

• How to best identify new contact lens wearers, ensuring the most appropriate contact lenses are fitted for their individual visual needs.

• How to manage future contact lens expectations by offering an alternative contact lens option to match their changing contact lens demands and the latest contact lens technological advances.

• How to manage your patients’ dry eye challenges that may evolve as they age.

If you are seeking the answers to these all important questions, then BCLA UK is the event for you!

Registration opens on 1 March 2016
BCLA UK is a one and a half day meeting, taking place at The Belfry Hotel & Resort near Birmingham, on 12-13 June. This brand new event, is for all levels of practitioners with relevant lectures and importantly hands-on workshops to improve confidence in contact lenses. It will bring together a targeted audience of UK ECP’s for a programme that is focused on improving confidence and clinical abilities to change patients’ lives with contact lenses.

BCLA Seeks New Student Ambassadors.

February 2016

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is looking to recruit new Student Ambassadors from each of the UK and Ireland optometric training institutions to act as an advocate for the BCLA amongst their peers.

Optometry students in the second year of a three-year course, or the third year of a four-year course, or those currently enrolled on a contact lens optician course, are eligible to apply by the closing date of Friday 26th February 2016.

“Our ambassadors have a unique opportunity to work with the BCLA council and to develop and deliver a programme of support to the BCLA’s student members,” said Andrew Elder Smith, BCLA Education committee chair.

“They will also have the opportunity to attend BCLA events for free such as this year’s BCLA UK in June, which will provide practical, hands on experience of contact lenses and the opportunity to hear some of the UK’s leading experts present,” he continued.

Meera Lakhani, from Anglia Ruskin University and one of last year’s BCLA Student Ambassador said, “Being an ambassador for the BCLA has had many benefits including networking with contact lens companies, getting a chance to represent the BCLA in events such as the AOP conference, learning about developments in the contact lens industry and meeting new people away from university who have had greater experience in the field!” 

“University has been great for a baseline understanding of contact lenses however, to be able to get a wider and a more real life experience, the BCLA is the place to join and represent,” she continued. “I would recommend investing the time as getting to know people within the industry first hand has been a wonderful experience and a great insight on the new changes that are happening at the moment with contact lenses.” 

BCLA President, Brian Tompkins commented: “Our student ambassadors play an important role.  They help raise awareness with their fellow students of the range of free and discounted resources from the BCLA to help them on their way to becoming successful contact lens practitioners.  Importantly they also bring a fresh perspective to the BCLA and to the industry – no-one is ever too old to learn something new.”

Ortho-k has “massive UK potential".

January 2016

Ortho-k’s current market share for vision correction in the UK is a fraction of the potential opportunity, believes the leading international provider, Netherlands-based Procornea.

Ortho K pie cahrtCompared to other global, and close to home European markets, there is a considerable business opportunity, according to Ron Beerten, Head of Professional Services at Dutch owned Procornea, provider of the Ortho-k lens design.

He estimates that globally some 400,000 people are using Ortho-k, of which 65,000 are in The Netherlands; 35,000 in Germany/Switzerland/Austria; 13,000 in Spain and just 6,000 in the UK.

“Despite the high usage figure in the Netherlands there is still more potential. We are now promoting the more sophisticated designs and enjoying the benefits that the broader selection criteria brings. We have been treating toric patients for some years and this has really given Ortho-k a boost. We are now treating up to -5.00D with cyls of up to 2.5D. Many practitioners are still not aware of the potential for this lens modality.”

Significant growth in Germany and Scandinavia is also being seen more broadly, says Ron, “The Swiss, well known for being very conservative, have really taken it up and are something of a role model for other markets. It is a great way of creating very loyal patients.

“If your practice relies on soft lenses you have a time bomb ticking away in your business and you should be very nervous for the future with the rise in internet sales. The ideal candidates for Ortho-k are existing soft lens wearers.

Patients who complain about end of day discomfort and dry eyes are ideal candidates to fit with Ortho-k,” said Ron.

Leading UK provider of Ortho-k, No7 Contact Lenses, is addressing lack of awareness – perceived to be the biggest barrier to wear - with a regional consumer marketing drive aimed at children and adults.

This has resulted in recent press exposure in THE MAIL ONLINE, SUNDAY EXPRESS, THE SUN, BBC RADIO, and a host of regional titles in support of individual practices.

England rugby player keeps a close eye on the ball. A story sent in by No 7 Contact Lenses

January 2016

Keeping a keen eye on the ball when you are playing at world-class level is no mean feat – but this has been made much easier for Women’s International Rugby player, Laura Keates – part of the World Champion squad.

Laura Keates Worcs LRFCLaura, who also plays regularly for Worcester Ladies RFC, is very short-sighted but has now overcome the problem of lost contact lenses on the pitch.

Preparing for the Six Nations in January, February and March, Laura is hoping to travel to not just Twickenham but also Scotland, Italy and France for matches. But her role as tight head prop means that glasses are just not an option.

The 27 year old from Rednal, Birmingham, was struggling to play with contact lenses which regularly ended up on the pitch, leaving her needing to run for replacement lenses –

“The rugby team doctor suggested that I tried Ortho-k: a method of correcting short-sightedness by wearing contact lenses at night. When I heard about the overnight correction it appealed to me so much. It seemed incredible that they would correct my vision while I sleep, leaving me free of lenses all day, but it really works, and I have 20/20 vision,” said Laura.

Laura, who is -4.50D in both eyes, went to see Geoff Wilson at the Contact Lens Practice in the middle of Birmingham, who specialises in this field of vision correction, and she was soon sleeping off her myopia.

After some very exact measurements of the shape of Laura’s cornea, taken with a topographer, the optician was able to order some bespoke lenses from specialist contact lens laboratory, No7, in Hastings which correct her vision overnight.

Measuring to an accuracy of less than a micron the night time lenses gently flatten the cornea by less than a hair’s width as Laura sleeps, leaving her with good vision for the day ahead. The good news is that the lenses stay at home all day ready for the following night’s wear -

This method of vision correction suits Laura very well -
“I train early in the morning and often late in the evening so it is a long time to be wearing contact lenses. They were an inconvenience during the game too, as sometimes I could lose two lenses in a match – it could be a real pain. Now I wake up to 20/20 vision and have this all day,” she said.

Geoff explained –

“Standard contact lenses are great for many people, but some do find them problematic for sport and swimming, and people with dry eye, or who work in air conditioned offices, can sometimes only wear contact lenses for short periods of time.

“Recent international studies are showing a strong correlation between the use of Ortho-k and the successful slowing of the progression of short-sightedness in children, which is of great interest to many parents who are concerned about their youngster’s vision,” he added.


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