Besides gaining new clinical insights from the presentations, the BCLA proved to be a fantastic opportunity to network with international contact lens practitioners. More than 1000 delegates attended the conference from all over the world. With two different lecture halls presenting different topics and a very impressive exhibition, there was not a single dull moment in the 4 days I spent at the conference. More than 45 of the industry’s leading manufacturers supported the event at the exhibition, showcasing a multitude of contact lenses, instruments and related products.
Besides the presentations, I attended 2 clinical workshops: Silicone Hydrogel Multifocals … the when & how of fitting and Orthokeratology lens fitting and troubleshooting.The clinical workshops were definably a highlight of my trip and are highly recommended for those who want to improve their practical skills in their specific area of interest.
The Silicone Hyrogel Multifocal workshop exposed the new developments in this area and I am particularly excited about the new CooperVision Biofinity® Multifocal that is due to be launched in the near future.
This lens utilizes the principles behind their Balanced Progressive™ Technology, which has been very successful with the Proclear Multifocal lens and will become available in the in the very popular Biofinity material.
Diagram showing the optics of Biofinty Multifocal soft contact lenses
To add to an already awesome itinerary, I was also fortunate enough to visit Cooper Vision in Hamble and was taken on a tour of the manufacturing plant as well as the distribution warehouse. This proved to be an absolutely amazing experience and really gives one a fantastic insight into differences in contact lens designs and curing processes. The automation and quality control technology is far more advanced than I ever imagined. It is no secret that the UV curing process of Biofinity has been extremely successful and the demand for this product has grown exponentially since the launch of the Biofinity Toric.
I was also fortunate enough to witness the manufacture of the recently launched product Avaira. Avaira is the latest addition to the CooperVision silicone hydrogel family in South Africa and offers excellent value. Visiting the distribution warehouse enlightened me on the logistics that are involved in offering such a wide range of products and grew my appreciation for the availability of products such as the Proclear Multifocal Toric XR so much more.
The BCLA conference is the largest annual international event dedicated to contact lenses. I can highly recommend it to any contact lens practitioner that would like new insights into world class research, education and information on all aspects of contact lenses, and the anterior eye. My trip to the BCLA is defiantly a highlight in my Optometry career!