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CONTACT LENSES

Get Primed

Keith Smithson, O.D., helps ECPs identify the patients who are best served by the new category of light-adapting contact lenses

After being talked about in the news for nearly a year (and being named by Time as a best invention of 2018), the ACUVUE Oasys with Transitions contact lens was launched nationally last month. How can you best incorporate the new lens into your practice’s portfolio?

To find out, EB asked Keith Smithson, O.D., of Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry—who worked with the lens during its trial period—about which patients will get the most benefit from wearing it, plus other key aspects of the lens.

KEITH SMITHSON, O.D.

ACTIVATION FACTS.

“It’s always in an active state,” says Dr. Smithson, who notes the lens takes 60 seconds to fully activate outside and 90 seconds to fade back. “So it always has just a little bit of a tint inside, and it is impacted by HEV lighting. Indoors it may get to like a 15%-20% tint; outdoors it’ll activate up to almost a 70% tint.”

WHO’S THE PATIENT?

“The more we learned about the lens, the more we struggled to find a place where it didn’t make sense for patients,” says Dr. Smithson. “It’s not just being outside in sunlight—it’s driving at night with headlights, it’s sitting at a computer for a long time, or under fluorescent lights in office buildings.”

MLB player Bryce Harper is an ACUVUE Oasys with Transitions ambassador. He’ll be wearing the lenses on the field this season and sharing his experiences in a video series.

EVERYDAY VS. SPECIALTY.

Initially, many of the O.D.s involved in the pre-launch thought the lens would be used by athletes or weekend warriors as sort of a sunglass when on the field. “But the more we learned about the technology, we realized people would want this lens on their eye all the time, because it varies in all these different lighting conditions and keeps you consistently immersed in the light protection you like,” he says.

DISPENSING TIPS.

Ask patients if they are “bothered by light” rather than “light sensitive.” Almost everyone is bothered to some degree, so it’s a great discussion starter.

To demo, Dr. Smithson suggests putting only one lens in, then letting the patient walk outside and, using their hand as an occluder, look out of first that eye and then the unprotected eye. “They notice how that bright light is making their eye feel. They really noticed the difference and the benefits in a ‘with’ and ‘without’ scenario.”

—SUSAN TARRANT

THERE’S MORE! Dr. Smithson has a thriving sports vision niche and does a lot of work with professional athletes in the Washington, D.C., area. Read more about how he’s incorporating this lens into those areas: eyecarebusiness.com/web-exclusives .