Best practices for specialty contact lens fittings are continuously evolving with new technology and innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a catalyst for change, as practices seek to improve health and safety precautions for practitioners and patients, and minimize the number of in-person appointments.
Keep an eye on these three trends shaping the scleral lens industry in 2021 and beyond.
While physical examinations still play an important role in fitting, designing, and adjusting scleral lenses, telehealth appointments can reduce the number of in-person visits needed for each patient. Without sacrificing any quality of care, clinicians can schedule video calls to check in with patients about their questions or concerns, offer advice for improving lens comfort, or educate them about lens handling and care.
For example, a practice could schedule a telehealth intake session with a new patient, recording their case history, personal information, current symptoms, and other important details before the patient comes in for an in-office ocular assessment or lens fitting. This process reduces health risks during the pandemic and is more convenient for the patient and clinician.
Prioritizing Hygiene and Safety
Now is an opportune moment for practitioners to reinforce hygiene standards within their own practices — such as wearing PPE and maintaining strict sterilization procedures for equipment, exam rooms, and reception areas — and educate patients on the importance of cleaning their scleral lenses regularly. Clinicians can demonstrate simple and effective methods for disinfecting hands and lenses before insertion. Products like VibrantVue® Lid & Lash Cleanser, Hand Prep Spray, and Scleral Saline Solution make it easy for patients to kill bacteria and other causes of infection.
Staying Up-to-Date with Innovation
At the 2021 Global Specialty Lens Symposium this spring, experts from around the world gave virtual presentations on technology and innovation changing the industry. Practitioners must stay engaged as new research, case studies, and equipment are introduced to see what they can incorporate into their practices in the future to improve patient care.
For instance, at the Scleral Lens Supersession, Dr. John D. Gelles, OD, discussed how optics have evolved over the years, including spherical, aspheric/eccentric, toric, multifocal, decentered, and wavefront-guided. Dr. Gelles emphasized that practitioners will soon see more tech innovations, such as remote examination evaluation devices, wearable displays and cameras, adaptive optics, and light-emitting lenses for therapeutic purposes.
Read more industry insights from Visionary Optics.