Safer contact lenses and new challenges posed by myopia
Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton FTSE
School of Optometry and Vision Science
Contact lenses are worn by 200 million people worldwide and are broadly a safe and reversible means of correcting vision.
Infection of the cornea is a rare but potentially severe blinding complication of contact lens wear. This presentation will discuss how common the disease is, who gets it and what causes it and the impact of innovations in contact lens materials and antimicrobial technologies on the disease.
The prevalence of myopia (short-sightedness) has increased worldwide, with earlier and more rapid progression of myopia in children than previously, such that 50 per cent of the Australian population and 5 billion individuals worldwide will be myopic by 2050.
As myopia progresses, the risk of developing sight-threatening disease increases. Image defocus at the peripheral retina is linked with myopia progression and optical interventions, including contact lenses, have been designed to limit peripheral image defocus.
This presentation will review such interventions and their likelihood for success in a paediatric population.
Professor Fiona Stapleton FTSE
Professor Fiona Stapleton FTSE qualified as an optometrist in the UK and then trained at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. She completed a Masters by research at the University of Manchester and was subsequently awarded her PhD from City University and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London for her research on the pathogenesis and epidemiology of contact lens-related disease.
She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at University College London, while working part-time as a senior optometrist at Moorfields UK, and she began a lectureship position at City University in London.
She came to Australia to work in the CRC for Eye Research and Technology (later Vision CRC), as part of the development of highly oxygen permeable contact lenses, which consolidated her interest in working with industry and engaging with government and end-users.
She later moved into the School of Optometry and Vision Science in 2004 and was Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science 2007-2019. In 2018 she became the Associate Dean for Enterprise in the Faculty of Science at UNSW.
Professor Stapleton is a clinical scientist who continues to see patients and has responsibility for teaching clinical ocular therapeutics in the School of Optometry and Vision Science.
She holds numerous memberships and executive affiliations with scientific organisations, including as President-Elect of the International Society for Contact Lens Research and she is an international advisor to the Asia Cornea Society Infectious Keratitis study.
She is a regular reviewer for a range of journals, belongs to the international editorial board of four journals, has published more than 240 peer-reviewed publications, 21 book chapters and one book.