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Contact Lens Solutions for Today’s Silicone Hydrogel Lenses

Susan A. Resnick, O.D., F.A.A.O.

10/19/2010

What do ceramic stovetops, stainless refrigerators and granite countertops all have in common? While they are all typically found in the kitchen and they all exemplify décor “upgrades,” the most significant commonality is that they all demand the newest formulations in cleaning compounds to maintain their quality and functionality. If consumers can be educated on the importance of upgrading from their former abrasive or bleach-
containing cleanser to protect their new kitchen surfaces, surely our contact lens patients are capable of comprehending the importance of using care solutions that are specifically engineered to maintain and enhance the wear of their silicone hydrogel lenses.

One of the biggest challenges we face in everyday practice is identifying a patient at risk for dropping out of contact lens wear. Our goal must be to proactively address modifiable risk factors. Patients who present with complaints of reduced wearing time, discomfort due to dryness and/or those who exhibit non-compliant behaviors all represent potential dropouts. As eye care practitioners, we are aware that advancing age brings about physiological changes that contribute to an increase in dry eye symptoms. But, did you also know that the longer patients wear contact lenses, the greater the likelihood that they have “strayed” from our prescribed care regimen?

Since new contact lens wearers represent only 10% of our patients, the majority of current contact lens wearers may not receive the benefits of education on the importance of solutions and the care of their lenses—
especially if they are not complaining of any problems with their lenses. These are the patients who are likely to deviate from our solution recommendation and, instead, purchase the lowest cost product on the retail shelf. Bear in mind, that next to the market share leader on the retail shelf, are those “look-alike” store brand products. These are typically older-generation PHMB-based lens care products, many of which were formulated prior to the introduction of silicone hydrogel lenses.

It is imperative that we identify the “silent sufferers.” These are patients who, despite being refit into silicone hydrogels for comfort and physiology, may still not have achieved their contact lens wearing goals. These long-time contact lens wearers are, in fact, the ones who stand to benefit the most from solutions, such as OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® multi-purpose disinfecting solution. OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® MPDS is specifically formulated to effectively clean, disinfect and enhance the wettability of silicone hydrogel lenses. Patients should be made aware that it is not available as a generic, and that there are other green box masqueraders on the pharmacy shelves. With our constant commitment to effective prescribing and communication, patients will benefit from OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® MPDS, an advanced solution that is formulated for today’s lenses. Our success will be evidenced by our patients’ improved contact lens wearing experience.

This column is sponsored by Alcon.



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