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UNSW academic named guest editor of contact lens journal special issue

UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science academic and contact lens expert Dr Nicole Carnt has been named as a guest editor for a special issue of a premier international contact lens journal.

Carnt will be joined by Dr Maria Jesus Gonzalez Garcia, from Spain’s Instituto Universitario de Oftalmobiología Aplicada (IOBA), in editing a special themed issue of Contact Lens and Anterior Eye on the long-term effect of contact lens wear to be published in January 2022.

The official journal of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), it is ranked second of 12 optometry journals, according to Scimago Journal Rank.

Carnt has been an editorial member of the journal since 2018, which includes peer reviewing abstracts and award nominations for the biannual BCLA clinical conference, as well as reviewing three full manuscripts annually.

“Each year they [BCLA] invite members of the editorial team to lead the annual themed issue. Given my service to the journal and my strong track record in contact lens research, dating back to 1999 when I began as a research optometrist at the then Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit – now Brien Holden Vision Institute – I was honoured and felt fully capable of steering this project,” Carnt said.

“I am delighted to be sharing this experience with Maria Gonzalez Garcia, from IOBA. She is one of the premier dry eye and contact lens researchers worldwide. As an advocate of women in STEMM, I am particularly proud to work alongside Maria.”

Dr Nicole Carnt

The focus on the long-term effect of contact lens wear stems from the popularity of a paper recently published in the journal on 30 years of ‘quiet eye’ with etafilcon lenses.

“This has generated much interest and the special issue is an opportunity to really delve into the details of the history of lens wear over the past four or so decades,” Carnt said.

“In addition, as we start to fit more wearers in childhood, we need to be able to predict what changes might occur, useful and deleterious and learn from the past.”

Gaining better insights

Carnt said the profession has witnessed many advances in contact lens materials and lens solutions but some questions remain.

“We have a better understanding of ocular surface response to contact lens wear, but how have the wearers who have joined us in this journey fared?,” Carnt said.

“We see some wearers develop limbal stem cell dysfunction, but we have limited understating of the drivers of this condition. We also see changes in neurobiology and have better instrumentation, such as in vivo confocal microscopy to be able to track and measure these signs.”

Contact Lens and Anterior Eye will soon be calling for papers for consideration in the special issue. In addition to clinical research, Carnt is seeking content on patient outcomes and perspectives.

Contact Lens and Anterior Eye accepts case reports, and case series are particularly useful. Eyecare practitioners will be crucial to this. There are many issues to explore: vision, physiology, anatomy, immunology,” she said.