BLOG: More than meets the eye for BCLA Medal Address

The BCLA Medal Address at this year’s Clinical Conference will look at three decades of research investigating how hydrogel and silicone hydrogel materials interact with the tear film.
The recipient of this prestigious award will be Professor Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo in Canada. 
His lecture, entitled ‘Soft lenses: Just a dull piece of plastic - or more than meets the eye?’ will review a body of work conducted over the past 30 years. The clinical relevance of this knowledge will be discussed, providing clinicians with information that will enable them to better manage their contact lens patients.
He said: “Soft lenses have been commercially available for almost 50 years, and are most typically used to correct refractive errors, giving patients an option in addition to their spectacles. 

“However, beneath this fundamental function, the world of the contact lens, and its interactions with the environment around it, is incredibly complex. Although the majority of these interactions are not visible, the potential they have to impact contact lens comfort and ocular health certainly are.”

The coveted BCLA Medal is the highest award handed out by the organisation. It may be awarded to any living person of any qualification or nationality for outstanding achievement in the field of contact lenses and or anterior eye. 

This could represent a significant contribution to the development, understanding, appreciation or usage of contact lenses, through invention, research, industrial work, clinical practice, or a similar level of contribution relating to anterior eye or technology for assessing the anterior eye.

Previous winners include Michael Guillon, Fiona Stapleton and Phillip Morgan.

Lyndon Jones is a Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University Research Chair and Director of the Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo.

His research interests primarily focus on the interaction of novel and existing contact lens materials with the ocular environment, dry eye and the development of novel materials for ocular drug delivery. 

He has authored over 400 refereed and professional papers and given more than 1,000 invited lectures at conferences worldwide, in over 40 countries.
Soft lenses are water-containing gels. They are an example of a flexible biomaterial that is constantly in touch with a highly complex biological fluid (the tear film), interacting with external factors such as blister pack components, contact lens solutions, topical ophthalmic drugs, cosmetics, bacteria and their exotoxins and bacterial biofilms within contact lens storage cases. 
The uptake, binding and potential release of these extraneous factors can have a significant impact on the performance and behaviour of soft lenses, with the potential to impact the health of the ocular surface.
Professor Jones added: “Contact lens materials interact with components of contact lens solutions, the tear film, toxins from ocular surface microorganisms and topical drugs. The permeable nature of soft lens materials means they can uptake and subsequently release a wide variety of these agents. 
“The clinical performance of contact lens materials depend upon these interactions which ultimately have the potential to significantly impact their comfort and clinical success when worn.
“This presentation will describe the various interactions that occur between lens materials and exogenous sources such as solutions and the tear film. It will summarise the critical interactions, their clinical relevance and how practitioners can best use this knowledge to optimise their soft contact lens recommendation to help maximise patient outcomes in practice.”
As a result of the lecture, delegates will understand the difference in deposition of proteins between hydrogels and silicone hydrogels and the clinical relevance of this while increasing their knowledge of the factors that influence the uptake and release of preservatives and other components of contact lens solutions.
The refreshed and reimagined three-day Clinical Conference and Exhibition is returning to Manchester from May 30 to June 1, featuring an action-packed programme with keynote speakers from around the world.

Alcon and CooperVision are Partner Sponsors for the event while Johnson & Johnson Visioncare are Platinum Sponsors. Gold Sponsors are Menicon and SEED with Ultravision, Technology Sponsor is Topcon.

For more information on registering for the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, click here.