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Transcripts: 490.3 to 490.4

Week: 490.3 Guest: Sheri Rowen, M.D., F.A.C.S. Topic: Contact Lenses - Part One Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is a two part discussion on the latest in contact lenses. My guest is Opthamologist Dr. Sheri Rowen from the Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore, Maryland.

NEMA: Dr. Rowen, not so long ago there was no such thing as a contact lens and then there came hard lenses and then soft lenses and now there are even disposable lenses. Is the contact lens going to continue to evolve and if so, what's next?

Rowen: The contact lens will always evolve with better materials. The newest materials are more oxygen permeable and are safer for the eye but the time limit that one has to wear them is decreasing because we found that when we went with the 30 day contact lens wearer, it was too much for the eye. And now it's down to a week for extended wear and some people can't even do that so people will have to realize that there is a limit in extended wear of the lenses even for the disposable. What is next with contact lenses will be the most exciting part. And it's still experimental. And I actually will be one of the ones that will introduce it here in a study in Baltimore when it comes. It's an intra-ocular contact lens and what that means is for people who are highly near-sighted, we would be able to implant a contact lens which is on basically a permanent or semi-permanent basis so that they won't have to have a contact lens on the outside of the eye. It would be on the inside of the eye and it would be able to correct their vision perfectly.

NEMA: What percentage of people with vision problems who wear glasses, and the glasses are successful in correcting their problem, what percentage of them can also use contacts and have equal good results as far as the vision correction?

Rowen: A lot of people can wear the contacts. It's just comfort. It's having something in your eye and if someone is prone to dry eyes or allergies, they might have trouble wearing contact lenses so I can't give you an exact percentage. Some people can wear them for a long time and then years later develop a problem and wonder why all of a sudden they're developing that problem. So each person is different but many people can be fitted with contact lenses successfully.

NEMA: How wide a variety of eye problems can arise in people who either fail to clean or use their contacts properly?

Rowen: There are a lot of difficulties that can arise. One would be an infection. An infection of the cornea is one of the worst complications that can arise because that's usually an ulcer and the ulcer as any ulcer gets in deep and can penetrate in through the cornea and open up the eye - actually perforate the eye if it's left untreated. That is a major problem and that's why when somebody gets a red eye with contact lens, they should immediately get the lens out and see a very good eye care professional. Some of the other problems are just reactions, when I talked about the allergic reactions to the contact lenses. They get little bumps under their eyelids and eventually have a hard time wearing contacts and feel dry and scratchy and itchy all the time.

NEMA: Join me for part two on contact lenses with Dr. Sheri Rowen.

Week: 490.4 Guest: Sheri Rowen, M.D., F.A.C.S. Topic: Contact Lenses - Part Two Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is the second half of a discussion about the latest in contact lenses including problems that arise from their improper use. My guest is Opthamologist Dr. Sheri Rowen from the Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rowen: Instead of a full ulcer, you can get an infiltrate which is this little white spot that can be sterile or infected and we have to see any problem that arises with a contact lens wearer immediately.

NEMA: Are hard contact lenses, the traditional hard ones which were the first one to come out or that style, are they still in existence today?

Rowen: The original hard contact lenses were very tiny. They have evolved to gas permeable contact lenses. They're still rigid so we call them gas permeable rigid lenses now and the original are not really being sold too much. I think there are a few people who still use them but the ones that they have going now are these gas perms. They're larger. They're basically more comfortable. They can correct more of these astigmatic problems and some of the more complicated fits.

NEMA: Something that we touched on earlier, the intra-ocular lens. I'd like you to talk about that a little more. You said you'd be introducing that for study in the Baltimore area soon.

Rowen: Yes. It's being submitted to FDA for the study. When they approve that it's okay for us to do it, then I will be the one who will bring that here to Baltimore. This will do things that the radial keratotomy and the lasers that everybody's heard about cannot do. This will correct the higher end of near-sightedness and far-sightedness, or hyperopia so it's going to correct a larger range of problems.

NEMA: What kind of time frame is involved in terms of having these implanted? I assume they are implanted. How long does the actual operation itself take to implant the lenses in a person?

Rowen: Only five to ten minutes.

NEMA: How is it done?

Rowen: A little incision would be made on the side of the eye and the implant is just injected - it's foldable. We're already using foldable lenses for our implants and cataract surgery. Same principle. And the lens would go in from the side and would just sit underneath - it would sit on top of the natural lens of the eye and not disturb it at all and it has to be somebody who is familiar with these types of techniques and it will be a study in the beginning - they're doing these studies in South American and Europe now and having dramatically wonderful results. We're very excited about it.

NEMA: And as far as the next stage of study before it will go on to the open market for the average consumer, what time frame are we looking at?

Rowen: It would nice, I'd heard, early next year. I don't know for sure. We never know with the FDA how long it takes for them to approve a study but the papers are in for submission now and for evaluation. Perhaps early in the year or sometime at that time. I've told my patients to call me in six months from now or early in the year and see where we are with it.

NEMA: And does anyone have the ability at this point to predict what these are probably going to cost?

Rowen: No.

NEMA: So that's still the question mark.

Rowen: That's one question mark but the wonderful thing about it is that it will be reversible.


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