Earlier this fall I attended the annual Missouri Optometric Association annual convention. This year it was hosted in St. Louis which is nice for us as it is close to home – less time on the road, less time out of the office, and less time away from family. The meeting revolves in it’s location to various parts of the state. Last year it was at the Lake of the Ozarks. The previous year it was in Branson. Next year it will be back in Branson and I think that’s my favorite location. It’s at a nice facility overlooking Table Rock Lake and the fall colors are usually quite vibrant by mid-October making the long drive across the state a bit more interesting than normal.
This year’s continuing education was on a scattering of topics including normal tension glaucoma, ocular inflammation, nutrients and neuroprotection, contact lens lectures, and even a three hour marathon about electronic medical records. Did I mention three hours? Filled with hundreds of government invented acronyms? Anyway, through all the lectures (even the three hour one) I learned lots of things that I hope to use to help our patients. I also learned some interesting things in the exhibit hall.
One of the most interesting things I learned more about in the exhibit hall was a new line of lenses from Essilor that they advertise as Visual Fatigue Solutions. These come in two flavors if you will. The first is called the Essilor Computer Lens. Compared to a typical progressive addition lens, or no-line bifocal, it has a generous intermediate zone along with a small area of distance at the top and near at the bottom. These lenses are designed for someone who spends their entire day doing computer work with limited distance needs and provides a more relaxed and comfortable computer experience. The second lens is the Anti-Fatigue Lens. These are designed for people who aren’t quite ready for a no-line bifocal but are starting to experience near strain. They provide great distance vision with a “power boost” near the bottom for reading.
Besides the young adults who could find relief with these lenses children who are rapidly developing nearsightedness (myopia) may also benefit. Several studies have suggested that children who are rapidly developing myopia could experience a slowing in their progression by wearing rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses or bifocal eyeglasses. We’ve long been advocates of RGPs but due to initial awareness of these lenses it is sometimes difficult to get kids (or even adults) to wear them. Bifocal and no-line bifocal eyeglasses have had their challenges as well due to cosmetic concerns and the difficulty in getting kids to look through the narrow channels inherent in no-line bifocals. These Anti-Fatigue Lenses may solve both of these problems as there is no visible line and there is no narrow corridor. The cost is even comparable to that of a single vision lenses.
Our initial impression of these products is favorable. We’ll continue to evaluate these and offer them to patients when appropriate. As always, if you have questions about this or any other vision issue please give our office a call, drop us an email, or post your questions here or to our Facebook page.
Scott McDougal, O.D.