Welcome to The Bright Eyes Podcast: Advice for Healthy Vision for All Ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford & Dr. Beth Knighton, residency-trained optometrist that provide eye exams for glasses and contacts, and specialty services including vision therapy, myopia control, orthokeratology, and sports vision training. Their mission to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized eye care.
In this episode, Dr. Nate talks with Dr. Douglas Benoit about contact lenses and NaturalVue spherical and multifocal lenses from Visioneering Technologies, Inc.
The Full transcript:
Intro: 00:11 Welcome to the bright eyes podcast, advice for healthy vision for all ages. Your hosts are Dr. Nate Bonilla Warford and Dr. Beth Knighton, residency trained optometrist providing eye care to all ages with exams for glasses and contacts, and specialty services, including vision therapy, Myopia control, orthokeratology, and sports vision training. Their mission is to empower patients by providing the best in friendly, professional, and individualized eye care.
Dr. Nate: 00:42 Not far from Clearwater beach, the number one beach in the nation, It is the Bright Eyes Podcast. This is episode number 10. I am Dr Nate Bonilla- Warford, and I have a special guest with me. Dr. Douglas Benoit.
Dr. Benoit: 00:42 Hi Nate.
Dr. Nate: 00:42 Hi, how are you?
Dr. Benoit: 00:55 Doing well, how about yourself?
Dr. Nate: 00:56 I’m great. I’m doing really, really well and I’m excited that you are here with us. We’re going to talk about contact lenses, which you have many years of experience with. Before we get into that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ll give the basics. You’re an optometrist. You’re a fellow of the American Academy of optometry. You’re the director of professional affairs at Visioneering Technologies, Inc, otherwise known as “VTI”.
Dr. Benoit: 01:21 That is correct. I practiced for 34 years in OD, MD group, we were all sub specialty folks. I had the pleasure of working primarily with contact lens patients, generally the type that had special needs such as GP wearers, people that needed scleral lenses, et Cetera, and I had the opportunity to work with a lot of bifocal patients, which was really a passion of mine. I also, over that period of time did a number of clinical studies, which is actually how I became involved with VTI.
Dr. Nate: 01:53 And you’re originally from New Hampshire, but I gather you get around the country quite a bit these days.
Dr. Benoit: 01:58 Yes. As part of the job I do have to travel quite a bit and with some changes that have occurred recently I’m traveling more much to the chagrin of my wife.
Dr. Nate: 02:08 My Dad actually, he does consulting and speaking in the education field and and he’s on the road a lot, but he’s narrowed down his primary gigs to Hawaii and California.
Dr. Benoit: 02:21 Well that would be a nice goal. My wife would like to travel back to California, I’m sure as it is, sometimes she gets to go with me depending on where it is and how much time I’ll actually get to spend with her.
Dr. Nate: 02:32 Right. Absolutely. So. OK, so for our listeners who are patients, we know that there are many contact lens options, uh, for patients, but a lot of times patients don’t really know what their options are or why they should be interested in them. If you’re like me, you’re probably somewhere, a family gathering or a barbecue or almost anywhere and they find out that you’re an optometrist and they always want to say, oh, you, I was told I cannot wear contacts or uh, you know, I tried contacts 15 years ago, you know, and they didn’t work. Do you feel like things have changed a lot since your, you know, your early days with context?
Dr. Benoit: 03:11 Well, yes, they have changed a large, large amount. When I was first in training a 30 some odd years ago, they had pma lenses and they were just coming out with soft materials. Those were two radically different types of contact lenses and it really took a different approach. Over the years, the old hard lenses have changed slightly, the materials now breathe so that they’re much gentler on the tissue of the eye, but the soft lens is really where the large changes have occurred. In the beginning, these lenses were produced in a vial, they were autoclave for sterility and the lenses were very expensive and you tried to keep them for a year or more using very heroic cleaning methods. Over the intervening years we have gotten smarter about the care, so that has become easier. But in the last 15 or so years, the move has been towards daily disposable lenses so that we can eliminate the problem of solution reactions or just poor cleaning. Anybody that has a question about poor cleaning with a contact lens, just think about your teenage son and his room
Dr. Nate: 04:19 Exactly. That’s something I actually mentioned in the, uh, in the exam chair here at Bright Eyes Kids pretty regularly. What are some reasons that patients might want to consider contacts over glasses
Dr. Benoit: 04:32 Well contact lenses do give you the opportunity to do active things such as working out, riding a bike, golf, things of that nature where glasses sometimes could get in the way either by slipping off or steaming up. So contact lenses are really, really nice in that regard. There are some folks that are into theatrical and in certain situations they might not want to be wearing glasses if they’re doing a period piece. So a contact lens there would give them the opportunity to blend in with their surroundings, so to speak.
Dr. Nate: 05:03 And who is a good candidate for contact lenses?
Dr. Benoit: 05:06 Well, I think anyone that’s motivated and has a healthy eye is a good candidate for contact lenses. At, you know, one point they used to tell folks that they had astigmatism, that they really couldn’t wear a contact lens. Uh, thank goodness that actually is not the case. The original contact lenses which were commercially available in the United States back in 1887 were for severely deformed corneas, primarily a very severe form of astigmatism. So that has evolved over the years. We now have many, many ways to correct both astigmatism and the need for a bifocal in a contact lens and there are some instances where we might actually use a contact lens in youngsters to try and prevent changes in their vision.
Dr. Nate: 05:46 Yes. That’s something that we talk about here a lot at Bright Eyes Kids. Now, you know, you mentioned kids, a lot of parents are very surprised to find that we can do contact lenses at all. A lot of people feel like until children are teenagers contact lenses are just not an option. Do you think that that was true previously that we initially started it at teenagers or do you think that was just a myth that sort of came out of nowhere?
Dr. Benoit: 06:17 I think it’s probably a combination. I think it was the comfort level of the doctor and or the parent as far as getting a contact lens on that particular youngster. What I have found over the years is that it really isn’t an age thing so much so maturity level thing. Some youngsters are ready to wear a contact lens at six years old and some won’t ever be ready again think about that teenage boy.
Dr. Nate: 06:41 I agree completely. I think that a motivation is absolutely everything. The worst case scenario in my opinion is when the parent really wants their kids to wear contacts and the kid really does not because if he doesn’t want the lens in his eye, he’s not going to get it in his eyes. There’s just no way, no way around it, but if there’s, if there’s sports, if it’s cosmetic, if there’s some other motivation than kids who can be very successful at wearing contact lenses. Pretty much independent of the age. That’s my experience for sure.
Dr. Benoit: 07:15 I would agree with that.
Dr. Nate: 07:16 What about people who were either bifocals or reading glasses are contact lenses a good option for them?
Dr. Benoit: 07:23 Yes, they are and there are a number of ways that that can be approached. I mean, one of the simplest ways would be to have contact lenses for distance and then put on a pair of reading glasses when you need it to do something on the computer or to read your cell phone, let’s say. But a lot of folks that are interested in contact lenses really don’t want to be bothered wearing glasses at all. And luckily for them, since about 1949, we have had bifocal contact lens is available and the designs that we have currently are really very, very good at correcting most patients needs as I used to, like to tell my patients if they’re motivated and willing to put up with the adaptation to these different optics in these contact lenses, about eighty percent of the time they’ll be able to function very, very normally and not have to rely on glasses at all.
Dr. Nate: 08:12 Yeah. Some of the happiest patients are ones that are so irritated with their reading glasses, misplacing them, having one in every room in the house except for the room that they’re in. And uh, you know, getting those patients into contacts is extremely rewarding.
Dr. Nate: 08:27 Now, when I first got my first pair of contacts, I was in high school, I got one pair, one for each eye. The pair had to last the entire year and I told all my friends, I’m like, Hey, I’m coming to school tomorrow and I’m going to be in my contacts. I’m not going to be wearing my glasses. And the very first morning I let one go down the drain and that was, I don’t know, $80 worth, you know, or something. Nowadays, you know, it, the idea of a fitting a child in an annual lens is just completely unheard of. I definitely have seen in my practice going to the, uh, the daily disposable or single use lenses has dramatically increased the comfort. Um, but most importantly, the health and safety of lenses. You travel around and talk to docs from, from all over. Do you think that that’s something that every doctor’s reporting?
Dr. Benoit: 09:25 I agree with that, yes, the advent of daily disposables of single use lenses has really improved the health of all patients. It makes it a lot easier for travel. If you do have one go down the drain, which you shouldn’t because the water shouldn’t ever be running when you’re doing your contact lenses, but if you should happen to lose a lens in that fashion, you can just open up another lens and put it in your eye. I don’t have to refer it to wearing glasses until you can order a new lens.
Dr. Nate: 09:50 One of the things that we see as doctors is companies are, you know, they come out with contact lenses on a very regular basis. Sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming for doctors because there’s just, there’s so many products. However, um, I was very excited when Brian, our rep from, from VTI, from Visioneering Technologies came in, uh, because I had been trying to get my hands on the natural view of Lens set for patients because I’d heard so many good things about it. So why don’t you tell us just a little bit about what sets Natural View apart from some of the other lenses that are out there.
Dr. Benoit: 10:30 Well, the natural view multi-focal contact lens is a one day Lens. It has a center distance design where the majority of multi-focal soft daily disposable lenses are currently center near designs, a the center distance design also uses what we call an extended depth of focus mechanism to actually create the power for reading, so folks that have the need for a bifocal that are say 42 or someone like myself that is 63 can wear the same lens and not have to worry about having a different add power as we call it. So it’s very, very nice for the doctor because you have one shape, one size and this universal add and you don’t have to worry about trying to pick too many parameters at once. So it really makes it very convenient for the doctor.
Dr. Nate: 11:21 So I’m, I’m very happy and very impressed with the lens and the patients have been too, before we wrap up here today, I appreciate your, your time. I appreciate you coming to the office. It’s always fun to be able to record in person as opposed to to over skype, which we do sometimes. Uh, is there anything else that you’d like to tell a patient? Maybe they’re interested in contact lenses. Anything else that you’d like them to think about that, that maybe they hadn’t thought about before?
Dr. Benoit: 11:51 Well, I think that anyone that’s listening to this podcast, if you haven’t thought about contact lenses, maybe you should. Contact Lenses can work for pretty much anyone as long as you’ve got motivation to where the contact lens and certainly here at a bright eyes, you will get to some of the best care that you will get anywhere.
Dr. Nate: 12:11 Well, thank you for that Dr. Benoit. So to all of our listeners, thank you for listening. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, we’ll all be at the beach,
Exit: 12:30 Brought to you by Bright Eyes Family Vision Care and Bright Eyes Kids. Find previous episodes and more detailed information at brighteyestampa.com, creative Commons, copyright attribution, non-commercial use. The only purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor experienced in the area you require. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Please consult your physician for diagnosis treatment.
Intro/outro music: Lucas Warford of Three For Silver.