On a daily basis, optometrists encounter a barrage of ocular diseases in the clinic. With our ability to prescribe topical and oral therapeutics, we are our patients’ primary eye care providers. Using the mainstay and new therapeutic agents available to us, we are in constant battle against glaucoma, dry eye, inflammatory disorders, allergies, and other ocular problems affecting our patients. If not for the regular collaborations within our profession, the continued efforts to improve access to care through expansions of scope, and the ongoing research and development by pharmaceutical companies, many ocular diseases would affect our patients much more negatively and severely than they do today. This issue of Modern Optometry focuses on common therapeutics used to treat a variety of ocular diseases. How much do you know about the drugs you are prescribing?
Over the past several years, an array of new therapeutic options have entered the marketplace, and more are in the pipeline. In glaucoma, we have seen the introductions of a new class of drugs called rho kinase inhibitors, a BAK-free formulation of latanoprost, and a multimechanism prostaglandin, all in the last year. The innovation in glaucoma isn’t going to stop any time soon, as durable drug delivery methods continue to show efficacious results in FDA clinical trials.
The armamentarium for the treatment of dry eye has also seen recent additions, including lifitegrast and multiple new ophthalmic formulations of cyclosporine A. Additionally, research on drug delivery is being done in the dry eye space to ensure that the most efficacious dosage can reach the desired target tissue. The list of powerful and high-quality therapeutics goes on and on, not only in glaucoma and dry eye, but also in allergy and inflammation.
This issue also includes a collection of articles on contact lens topics, including navigating initial encounters with patients, understanding the latest in parameter expansions, and managing allergies in scleral lens wearers. Contact lenses continue to play a significant role in the set of services the optometric community provides to patients. Whether we prescribe them for medical reasons or for refractive correction, it is imperative to set the correct tone with regard to good habits during the first encounter. Contact lens technologies continue to evolve, and it is our responsibility as optometrists to update our patients on what’s new while reinforcing the fundamentals of safety and best practices for use. Once the decision between the doctor and patient has been made to wear contact lenses, the work has only begun. Managing a patient who presents with allergic conjunctivitis after years of wearing lenses comfortably can be a challenge. Optimizing the fit, front surface wetting, and lens hygiene, eliminating exposure to preservatives, and dealing with concurrent dry eye are all considerations we must address to get patients back to successfully wearing their lenses.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Modern Optometry. Perhaps it will inspire you to implement some new therapeutics to manage ocular disease, or maybe you’ll take a slightly different approach to handling that first encounter with a contact lens patient. We believe that adopting a few key pieces of advice from this issue can help all of us to improve the lives of our patients.
As always, we welcome your feedback and your ideas on what we can cover in future issues to help you on the front lines of the challenging and dynamic field of optometry. Reach us at modernOD@bmctoday.com.