All posts by Nicole Tavares

Recruiting for a new contact lens study! Study code: COLLIE

What are we trying to learn?

Xiidra (lifitegrast 5.0% ophthalmic solution) is a Health Canada approved eye drop that has been shown to be effective in relieving dryness symptoms in individuals with dry eye disease. The purpose of this study is to evaluate changes in comfort and dryness in contact lens wearers after using Xiidra for 12 weeks.

About the study

If eligible, you will be asked to follow the study instructions and attend the following visits.

• Visit 1 – Screening to determine eligibility – 0.75 hour
• Visit 2 – Baseline measurements and dispense eye drops – 1 hour
• Visit 3 – 2-week follow-up visit– 1 hour
• Visit 4 – 6-week follow-up visit– 1 hour
• Visit 5 – 12-week follow-up visit– 1 hour
Total time commitment – 4.75 hours
The visits will include standard clinical procedures that you might encounter when you attend an eye exam.

What are the requirements?

• You are 18 years or older
• You have worn soft contact lenses for a minimum of 5 days/week for 6 hours/day over the past month (and are willing to continue to do so)
• You experience discomfort (e.g. dryness) when wearing your contact lenses

Reimbursement

In appreciation of your time you will receive $95 upon study completion. Parking passes will be provided as required.

How to participate

If you are interested in participating, please complete and return the attached questionnaire to corestudies@uwaterloo.ca and write the study ID, “COLLIE”, as the email title. If you have questions or would like more details, please call 519-888-4742. You will be provided with all relevant study information prior to study enrollment and you are under no obligation to participate.

Safety during COVID-19

We want to let you know that we have revised several of our protocols to keep participants and researchers safe during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning and mandatory wearing of masks by everyone. Measures we have taken to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 are explained in the attached “Information Letter: COVID-19 Risks for In-Person Research Study Visits” which we will ask you to sign in the event you participate. Please note that you will be within 2m (6 feet) of the researcher during some or most of the study visit time. At all times, the furthest possible distance will be maintained. Please note, if you are aged 60 and above, you are considered at a greater risk for severe illness from the COVID-19 virus.

Recruiting for a new children’s myopia control study: MAP

What are we trying to learn?

Nearsightedness or “myopia” makes it difficult to see distant objects clearly and requires the use of glasses or contact lenses to achieve good vision. Typically the severity of this myopia increases as children grow, which may increase their risk of vision threatening conditions, such as glaucoma, retinal detachment and blindness later in life. A recent clinical trial of a specially designed contact lenses, called MiSight®, showed significant slowing of myopia progression in children aged 8-12. The MiSight® lens is now commercially available in Canada.

The purpose of this study is to investigate if a new design of these MiSight® soft contact lenses could provide a greater treatment effect, particularly for children whose myopia progresses quickly.

About the study

This study consists of two parts. In Part 1 (the first year), all children will wear the MiSight® myopia control lens, which has been approved for commercial use in Canada. In Part 2 (the final two years), your child will wear one of three lens types, all of which are designed to slow myopia progression. One of these three lens types is MiSight®, the other two lenses are not commercially available but have been approved by Health Canada to be assessed in this study.

At the beginning of study, you child will be randomly assigned to the type of lenses they will wear during Part 2 of the study.

Part 1

  • Visit 1a &1b (both visits normally combined): Baseline measurements (3.5 hours) and trial lens fit, dispensing Part 1 lenses (1.5 hours) – total time 5 hours
  • Visit 2: 2-week follow up – 2 hours
  • Visit 3: 3-month follow up – 1.50 hour
  • Visit 4: 6-month follow up –1.75 hours
  • Visit 5: 12-month follow up & dispense Part 2 lenses – 3.75 hours

Part 2

  • Visit 6: 2-week follow up – 1.75 hour
  • Visit 7: 6-month follow up – 2 hours
  • Visit 8: 12-month follow up – 3.75 hours
  • Visit 9: 18-month follow up – 2 hours
  • Visit 10: 24-month follow up and study exit – 3.75 hours


Total time commitment
10 visits for a total of 27.25 hours over 3 years

The visits will include standard clinical procedures that you might encounter when you attend an eye exam.

What are the requirements?

  • Children aged 7-11
  • No previous experience with myopia control treatments
  • Prescription range between -0.50 and -4.50 D
  • Willing to wear daily disposable contact lenses 10 hours/day, 6 days/week

Reimbursement

In appreciation of your time, you will receive $545 upon study completion. Parking tokens will be provided as needed.  

 How to participate

If you are interested in participating, or would like to book your first appointment, please contact CORE at 519-888-4742 or email COREstudies@uwaterloo.ca for more information.

Please provide the study ID “MAP when you call/email. You will be provided with all relevant study information prior to study enrollment and you are under no obligation to participate.

Safety during COVID-19

We want to let you know that we have revised several of our protocols to keep participants and researchers safe during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning and mandatory wearing of masks by everyone. Measures we have taken to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 are explained in the “Information Letter: COVID-19 Risks for In-Person Research Study Visits” which we will ask you to sign in the event your child participates.

Research Study for Near-sighted Children: HONEYDEW

Nearsightedness can increase as children grow and the goal of myopia control is to slow down this progression. This study is comparing an investigational daily disposable contact lens designed to control myopia progression to a regular contact lens.

What would happen if you and your child took part in this study?

If you both decide to take part in this study you would attend 11 study visits at CORE over 3 years, totaling 30.5 hours. Your child would be fitted with either the study contact lens or a control lens and asked to wear the lenses daily for the duration of the study. In appreciation of your time you will receive $20/hour for attending study visits, up to $650 for study completion. All study products will be provided by CORE.

Would this study be a good fit for my child?

This study might be a good fit for your child if

  • They are between 7-12 years of age
  • They have a prescription between -0.75 and -4.50 Dioptre of spherical power with no greater than 1 Dioptre of astigmatism in each eye
  • They have never had myopia control treatment before or participated in a previous myopia control study

Safety during COVID-19

We want to let you know that we have revised several of our protocols to keep participants and researchers safe during the pandemic. Measures we have taken to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 are explained in an information letter, which we will send to you should you express interest in participating.

To take part in the HONEYDEW research study please make a volunteer profile for your child. If you meet the study criteria, you will be provided with all relevant study information prior to study enrollment, and you are under no obligation to participate. If you would like more information about nearsightedness and myopia control click here.

New myopia study (Study ID: ASH)

In this study we are assessing how the eyes focus through a novel spectacle lens designed that slow down the progression of myopia (near-sightedness). We want to evaluate how eyes focus with these new lenses, and with two other lenses for comparison. Each pair of spectacles will be worn for approximately 20 minutes each, one after the other at a single study visit.

About the study

This study is completed in a single visit. If you/your child is found eligible to continue to the measurement session, you/they will be asked to wear each of the 3 pairs of spectacles for 15-20 minutes each, one after the other. Following 5 minutes adaptation to each pair, some focus measurements will be made.

•             Screening to determine eligibility                 0.50 hours

•             Study spectacle wear & measurements       1.25 hours

                         *Total time commitment –   1.75 hours

The study visit includes standard procedures that would often be encountered during a regular eye exam. No eye drops are used, the equipment does not touch the eyes or use bright lights.

What are the requirements?

To be eligible for this study, you must meet the following criteria:

•             Aged 6-18, inclusive

•             Currently either wear or require spectacle of low prescription (no more than -0.75 each eye) or are a current contact lens wearer (any nearsighted prescription)

Reimbursement

In appreciation of the time involved, you/your child will receive $40 upon study completion. Parking passes will be provided as required.

How to participate

If you/your child are interested in participating, please email corestudies@uwaterloo.ca with the subject line “ASH.” You will be provided with all relevant study information prior to study enrollment, and you/your child are under no obligation to participate.

Safety during COVID-19  

We want to let you know that we have revised several of our protocols to keep participants and researchers safe during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning and mandatory wearing of masks by everyone. Measures we have taken to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 are explained in the “Information Letter: COVID-19 Risks for In-Person Research Study Visits” which we will ask you to sign in the event you participate.

Please note that you/your child will be within 2m (6 feet) of the researcher during some or most of the study visit time.  At all times, the furthest possible distance will be maintained.

New contact lens study (Study ID: CORGI)

What are we trying to learn?

The purpose of this study is to refit wearers of daily disposable contact lenses who currently experience symptoms of dry eye and discomfort during lens wear, with a different type of daily disposable contact lens.

We will evaluate the performance of your habitual lenses and the study lenses by taking measurements and asking you questions about your lens wearing experience.

About the study

If eligible, you will be asked to follow the study instructions and attend the following visits:

  • Visit 1 – Screening to determine eligibility– 1.5 hour
  • 1 week of habitual lens wear
  • Visit 2 – Baseline measurement & study lens dispense – 1 hour
  • 1 month of study lens wear
  • Visit 3 –1-month-follow-up visit & study exist – 1 hour


Total time commitment4.5 hours (3.5 hours of study visits plus 1 additional hour for at-home ratings)

The visits will include standard clinical procedures that you might encounter when you attend an eye exam.

What are the requirements?

  • You are at least 17 years of age
  • You are currently wearing daily disposable contact lenses at least 1 day a week and experience symptoms of dryness or discomfort
  • You are willing to wear daily disposable contact lenses at least 3 days a week for the duration of the study.
  • You are willing and able to follow instructions and maintain the appointment schedule

Reimbursement

In appreciation of your time you will receive up to $90. Parking passes will be provided as required.

How to participate

If you are interested in participating, please email corestudies@uwaterloo.ca with the subject line: CORGI.  You will be provided with all relevant study information prior to study enrolment and you are under no obligation to participate. 

CORE Alerts Practitioners to Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE)

Widespread use of face masks has been determined essential to combat COVID-19’s spread, yet is giving rise to a new phenomenon: increased reports of dry, uncomfortable eyes. Experts from the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) are advising eye care professionals (ECPs) on how to recognize mask-associated dry eye (MADE) and methods to mitigate the condition.

Reports of MADE have circulated since early summer and a recent review1 concluded that eye dryness and irritation from mask wear may become a problem for a large percentage of the population.

“Face masks are crucial in the fight against COVID-19, and ECPs are well-positioned to provide patients with advice on appropriate wear in order to maximize eye comfort,” said Dr. Lyndon Jones, director of CORE. “Asking patients about their mask-wearing experiences and providing a few helpful tips takes little time and can make a substantial difference.”

MADE: What, Why and Who’s at Risk?

Masks significantly reduce the outward spread of air. However, exhaled air still needs to disperse; when a mask sits loosely against the face the likely route is upwards. This forces a stream of air over the surface of the eye, creating conditions that accelerate tear film evaporation, leading to dry spots on the ocular surface and discomfort.

In addition to worsening symptoms in patients with pre-existing dry eye disease, MADE can affect a wide-spectrum of others: the elderly who typically have a poorer quality tear film, contact lens wearers, and masked people working extended hours in air-conditioned settings and/or while using digital screens.

Beyond discomfort, MADE may encourage people to rub their eyes for temporary relief—raising the possibility of unwashed hands being brought to the face. In turn, this increases the likelihood of coronavirus infection through the mouth, nose, and to a lesser extent, the eye.

Guidance for Practitioners

CORE suggests that ECPs consider incorporating three MADE-related actions into their examination lane protocols:

  1. Consider the role of the face mask if there are worsening symptoms and signs in patients with confirmed dry eye disease, or if patients report dry, uncomfortable eyes or variable vision for the first time.
  2. Routinely ask all patients how their eyes feel while wearing a mask, since many may not think to volunteer their experiences or associate their symptoms with mask use.
  3. Provide advice on alleviating the symptoms, including using a new CORE-developed infographic to help show how a few simple steps can likely provide relief and minimize reoccurrence.

Tips for Patients

As illustrated in its new MADE infographic (available for download from COVIDEyeFacts.org), CORE recommends that mask wearers experiencing dry eye symptoms try straight-forward solutions:

  1. Ensure that a mask is worn appropriately, particularly with spectacles or sunglasses. A carefully taped top edge that does not interfere with blinking may help.
  2. Apply lubricating drops, asking their ECP for recommendations.
  3. Limit time in air-conditioned environments and take regular breaks from digital devices.

CORE experts are also been quick to state that people should first check with their eye care practitioner for advice and to rule out other cases—a good approach with any new eye-related concern.

Don’t Ditch the Mask

Dr. Jones is adamant that bringing more attention to MADE should not be used to support anti-mask wearing sentiments.

“Responsibly wearing a mask, even when having to contend with eye dryness, is a critical part of overcoming the global pandemic. The good news is that we understand MADE and can address it—an opportunity for ECPs to further communicate their knowledge and ongoing value to patients at a time when sound, scientific guidance is needed more than ever,” he noted.

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About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) – formerly known as the Centre for Contact Lens Research – was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit core.uwaterloo.ca.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Aimee J. Lewis or Mike McDougall, APR, Fellow PRSA
McDougall Communications for CORE
aimee@mcdougallpr.com +1.585.414.9838  |  mike@mcdougallpr.com +1.585.434.2150

  1. Moshirfar, M., West, W.B. & Marx, D.P. Face Mask-Associated Ocular Irritation and Dryness. Ophthalmol Ther 9, 397–400 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40123-020-00282-6

New Research Reassures & Advises Contact Lens Wearers During Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic; Offers Clear Facts and Hygiene Advice

Peer-Reviewed Paper by Prominent Scientists Reinforces Need for Hand Washing,
Warns that Wearing Glasses / Spectacles Does Not Reduce Risk of Infection

WATERLOO, Ontario, April 13, 2020—Moving swiftly to address and correct harmful myths and misinformation, a new peer-reviewed paper from five of the world’s most prominent ocular scientists reassures contact lens wearers during the global COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic. Published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners” offers five important facts for anyone who relies on contact lenses or eyeglasses / spectacles:

    1. You Can Keep Wearing Contact Lenses. There is currently no scientific evidence that contact lens wearers have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 compared with glasses / spectacles wearers. Consult your eye care practitioner with questions.
    2. Good Hygiene Habits are Critical. Thorough handwashing and drying are essential, as well as properly wearing and caring for contact lenses, ensuring good contact lens case hygiene, and regularly cleaning glasses / spectacles with soap and water. These habits can help you stay healthy and out of your doctor’s office or hospital.
    3. Regular Eyeglasses / Spectacles Do Not Provide Protection. No scientific evidence supports rumors that everyday eyeglasses / spectacles offer protection against COVID-19.
    4. Keep Unwashed Hands Away from Your Face. Whether you wear contact lenses, glasses / spectacles or require no vision correction at all, avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands, consistent with World Health Organization (WHO) and S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
    5. If You Are Sick, Temporarily Stop Wearing Contact Lenses. Contact lens wearers who are ill should temporarily revert to wearing eyeglasses / spectacles. You can resume use with fresh, new contact lenses and lens cases once you return to full health and have spoken with your eye care practitioner.

On April 8, the CDC issued updated guidance on contact lens wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, further supporting key findings from the Contact Lens & Anterior Eye paper. The CDC also points out that personal eyeglasses and contact lenses do not qualify as personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Millions of people are asking how COVID-19 affects eye care, especially since approximately two out of every three adults worldwide wear contact lenses, spectacles or eyeglasses. Unfortunately, misinformation has become widespread in recent days. Our goal is to make sure that science-backed truths are understood and shared, replacing fear with fact,” said Dr. Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) and the paper’s lead author. “Our findings indicate that contact lenses remain a perfectly acceptable form of vision correction during the coronavirus pandemic, as long as people practice good hand hygiene and follow appropriate wear-and-care directions.”

The complete paper incorporates findings from more than 100 referenced sources. It delves into multiple aspects of ocular health amidst the pandemic, including practical advice for eye care professionals. The paper and other resources for good wear and care can be downloaded from COVIDEyeFacts.org.

This new research-based review complements and significantly expands on CORE advisories regarding handwashing and safe contact lens wear issued in mid-March 2020.

Dr. Jones is a preeminent authority on eye care, having authored more than 400 refereed and professional papers and delivered more than 1,000 lectures worldwide in over 40 countries. In 2019, he was named by Expertscape as the most published expert in the field of contact lens research.

Joining him to author the COVID-19 paper were four globally respected researchers, educators and clinicians: Dr. Karen Walsh, professional education team leader and clinical scientist at CORE, Dr. Mark Willcox, director of research at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW (Sydney), Dr. Philip Morgan, director of Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester (United Kingdom), and Dr. Jason Nichols, associate vice president for research and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (United States) and editor-in-chief of Contact Lens Spectrum.

About CORE

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit core.uwaterloo.ca.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

 

Aimee J. Lewis
McDougall Communications for CORE
aimee@mcdougallpr.com +1-585-414-9838 (mobile)

Mike McDougall, APR, Fellow PRSA
McDougall Communications for CORE
mike@mcdougallpr.com or +1-585-545-1815 (mobile)

CORE Advises Contact Lens Wearers on Safe Use Amidst COVID-19 Concerns, Reinforces Proper Hand Hygiene

As bottles of soap are flying off the shelves and hand sanitizer is in short supply since the global spread of Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, people are paying more attention to hand washing practices. While there is no suggestion of an association between COVID-19 and safe contact lens wear, for the millions of lens wearers worldwide, the increased focus on hand washing is a welcome message.

A recent literature review from Professor Emeritus Desmond Fonn and the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) reports that proper hand hygiene is especially important for people who use contact lenses. The peer-reviewed study, published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, draws attention to how hand washing habits could affect the development of contact lens related microbial keratitis, which can be severe and sight-threatening, and corneal inflammatory events.

“Everyone is suddenly Googling handwashing techniques with the spread of COVID-19,” said Lyndon Jones, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO, FBCLA, the paper’s co-author and director of CORE. “Clearly this is sensible advice to help reduce the risk of transferring the virus, however, outside of the current crisis, focus on good hand washing techniques should be mandatory for contact lens wearers too. With the amount of information available on this topic right now, it is timely to remind lens wearers of just how much the simple act of thorough hand washing can reduce their risk of lens-related complications occurring.”

The paper notes that in line with its ability to reduce the spread of disease, careful and thorough hand washing with soap and water followed by hand drying with unused paper towels should greatly reduce the transfer of microbial contamination from hands to the contact lens or eye. Clean hands plus use of daily disposables results in the lowest risk of contact lens-related complications. For wearers of reusable lenses there are additional guidelines on lens and case cleaning which can be downloaded for patient use from CORE’s Contact Lens Update educational resource.

Seeing is Believing

In 2018, CORE published a series of eye-popping photos that demonstrate the rapid growth of bacteria associated with mishandling contact lenses.  CORE researchers exposed new, clean contact lenses to both clean and unwashed hands. Unwashed hands were pressed into agar (Figure 2a), and also used to handle a new contact lens (Figure 2b). Scientists then repeated the procedure after following recommended handwashing practices, touching both the agar directly, along with applying and removing a contact lens (Figures 2c and 2d). The results clearly demonstrate the impact handling has on contact lenses. Samples that had been touched with unwashed hands showed significantly higher numbers of visible bacteria. By comparison, the contact lens touched with clean hands had only a minimal bacterial load.

“Contact lenses are a safe, highly effective form of vision correction used by millions of people worldwide, but ignoring good contact lens care can have a devastating effect on eye health and vision,” says CORE senior research associate Miriam Heynen, MSc, who conducted the experiment with laboratory research assistant Vivian Chan, BSc. “Taking care of your contact lenses with clean, dry hands is essential, a point that is clearly illustrated in the images shared here.”

Photos from the handling study are available for use by eye care professionals and contact lens wearers alike at https://core.uwaterloo.ca/news/seeing-is-believing-eye-popping-photos-show-why-good-contact-lens-hygiene-is-essential/

Dr. Jones concluded by saying “We understand the relevance of good hand washing practices for everyone in the current climate of COVID-19. Beyond the current heightened focus, it is also prudent to remind contact lens wearers of their ongoing need to conduct good hand hygiene prior to touching their lenses and eyes.”

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About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)
The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit core.uwaterloo.ca.

MEDIA CONTACT
Aimee J. Lewis
McDougall Communications for CORE
aimee@mcdougallpr.com or +1.585.414.9838

Researchers recommend considering preserved artificial tears for mild dry eyes

Evidence shows that there is a wide choice of preserved artificial tears which can be recommended within a larger treatment plan for mild to moderate dry eye disease.

According to researchers at the University of Waterloo, while preservative-free drops are best for severe dry eyes, they are not the only option to consider in the management of more mild stages of the disease.

“The preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is known to irritate the surface of the eye and should be avoided in all dry eye patients, however, there is good evidence that alternatively preserved drops can be safely used in mild to moderate cases.” said Karen Walsh, a Clinical Scientist at Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science and the Centre for Ocular Research & Education. “Preservative-free drops can be more expensive, and many are packaged in single-dose containers that can be difficult for elderly patients to use.

“This study provides an important recommendation to eye care practitioners: they have more options for treating mild to moderate dry eye than they may think.”

As part of their research, Walsh and co-author Lyndon Jones, reviewed a range of studies including clinical trials and laboratory testing which showed that artificial tears containing alternative preservatives are significantly safer to the surface of the eye than BAK-preserved drops.

“It is important for patients with symptoms of dry eye to seek medical advice when choosing which drops are best. An examination with their eye care professional can diagnose the type and severity of dry eye, which will result in more effective treatment and ongoing management of the condition.” said Walsh.

This literature review, The use of preservatives in dry eye drops, authored by Walsh and Jones was recently published in the journal Clinical Ophthalmology.

Review Study Draws Attention to Inadequate Hand Hygiene Among Contact Lens Wearers, Suggests Strategies to Avoid Infection

Improper hand hygiene can have serious consequences for contact lens wearers, according to a recent paper from the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE). The report, published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, draws attention to poor hygiene associated with contact lens wear, and in particular how hand washing habits could affect the development of contact lens related microbial keratitis and corneal inflammatory events.

“While proof that hand washing reduces infection dates back to the mid-1800s, we’re still facing significant issues in having consumers change their hygiene behaviors,” said Lyndon Jones, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO, FBCLA, the paper’s co-author and director of CORE. “In compiling this review of public health literature, our hope is to make the facts and possible mitigation strategies more accessible to eye care professionals. They’re on the front lines of helping contact lens wearers understand that eye health is literally in their own hands.”

The paper notes that numerous techniques exist to help prevent microbial keratitis or corneal inflammatory events among contact lens patients, including careful and thorough hand washing with soap and water followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. While the eye care industry has made significant investments in patient education, “literature on the effects of education of proper hand washing is at best scant.”

Alternatively, the report identifies advancements in contact lens offerings as providing new hope.  These include more frequent fitting of daily disposable contact lenses, citing the reduced contamination due to removal and discarding after each wearing period. Additional innovations include a new lens package design that minimizes interaction between the finger and the lens surface, and a novel disinfecting component included in the lens blister pack solution.

The paper was co-authored by Desmond Fonn, MOptom, FAAO, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry & Vision Science.

CORE recently published a series of eye-popping photos that demonstrate the rapid growth of bacteria associated with mishandling contact lenses. They are available for use by eye care professionals at https://core.uwaterloo.ca/news/seeing-is-believing-eye-popping-photos-show-why-good-contact-lens-hygiene-is-essential/

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About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit core.uwaterloo.ca.

MEDIA CONTACT

Aimee J. Lewis

McDougall Communications for CORE

aimee@mcdougallpr.com or +1.585.414.9838