It was a beautiful morning. The fog was just beginning to lift, revealing a bright blue sky and white, puffy clouds. I don’t remember seeing clouds like that very often this summer. With the heat and humidity we’ve had so often the last few months, the clouds have been hazy and gray more than puffy and white. The crisp, cool air made for a perfect backdrop as I fired up my old motorcycle to take a 35 minute therapy session into the office. I do a lot of thinking on the motorcycle, and at that moment, it dawned on me that I would be celebrating a birthday in two weeks, the motorcycle that was chugging along underneath me was almost thirty years old, and it was built when I was celebrating my 13th birthday. The 1988 BMW R100RT still runs great and is a fun ride today, without fuel injection, antilock brakes, traction control, bluetooth audio, cruise control and a lot of other electronic wizardry that would be included with a purchase of the same BMW RT model today. Man, maybe those days really were the good old days. Maybe life was simpler? Maybe the compact disc of the day really was “good enough.” Maybe we don’t really need all the technological advancements that we think we need?
As I put the kickstand down and walked into my office, there sat a big box of contact lenses that just arrived yesterday. But unlike any old contact lenses, these lenses were the entire fitting kit for the Dailies Total 1 Multifocal. I know, that means nothing to you, but it sure is a snazzy name. Let me explain in context by taking you back to the era of my old BMW: In 1986, the Acuvue contact lens was first released. It was the first and only disposable soft contact lens on the market. Eye care practitioners rejoiced and the angels sang because now patients would be treated to a new lens every two weeks, which would reduce the risk of infections, corneal ulcers and other contact lens complications like dryness. It was the latest idea and it caught on like wildfire. Contact lenses could not get better! Until patients started wearing them overnight and not throwing them away as often as they should. Guess what, we still saw ulcers and infections and all the other stuff that makes us cringe, just not as often. And what about people with astigmatism and people who are over 40 and need bifocals? Those days were NOT the good old days when it came to contact lens technology.
Guess what, THESE are the good old days. The technology behind the Dailies Total 1 contact lens is amazing. Beyond having a fresh lens everyday, the plastic the lens is made from utilizes a Water Gradient Technology, which literally pushes moisture from the core of the lens to the surface, where it does its most good in lubricating the surface of the lens. Patients who have been wearing contact lenses for years are amazed at how the Dailies Total 1 “disappears” on their eye from the time they first put them in until late at night. That dry feeling you get with your contacts? It’s actually the underside of your eyelid rubbing against the front of the lens. Keep the front of the lens moist and lubricated, and you don’t feel ’em. Simple in theory, but incredibly difficult to pull off with a plastic contact lens, but these folks have done it. As far as vision, even 10 years ago, I would cringe at the thought of prescribing multifocal soft contact lenses. Although patients could often see well enough at distance and near to “get by,” things certainly were not great. Haloes, glare, doubling, blurriness? Yep, we had all of that. With the new optics of multifocal lenses released over the last few years, patients are amazed at how clearly and comfortably they see at all distances. They can finally leave their drug store reading glasses at home and not worry that they are accidentally texting their boss instead of their husband (another problem that didn’t exist in the good old days).
Were the late ’80’s the good old days of motorcycles? Maybe. The new technology is nice, but there’s something about that old bike and the personality of a two cylinder engine with a carburetor. I’ll keep it and ride it for now. As far as contact lenses are concerned? These ARE the good old days, and we’re not going back.