Optrafair Interview: Professor Lyndon Jones


Professor Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo, Canada talks to Mike Hale from Optician magazine about what’s been going on and what we can expect at Optrafair.

Professor Lyndon Jones
Professor Lyndon Jones
Mike Hale Congratulations on receiving the BCLA Medal during 2019 for outstanding achievement in the field of contact lenses and anterior eye. What did being recognised mean to you?

Lyndon Jones It was a tremendous honour. Joining the ranks of people I have looked up to as mentors and colleagues for so many years was incredible. To think I was granted the same award as giants in the field of contact lens research such as Irving Fatt, Brien Holden, Ken Polse, Donald Korb and four of my mentors in Keith Edwards, Judith Morris, Brian Tighe and Des Fonn is unbelievable. What is somewhat bizarre is that I was actually serving on the BCLA Council back in the early 1990s prior to my move to Canada when Nathan Efron floated the idea of the medalist address. I was there when we discussed the development of the award – never imaging that just over 25 years later I would be a recipient.

MH Can you give an update of the past 12 months at CORE?

LJ The last 12 months have been as busy as ever for CORE, with 20 peer-reviewed articles, six professional publications, 25 oral presentations at major scientific meetings and over 60 continuing education lectures presented at various professional education events in 13 different countries. Dr William Ngo, a former PhD student of mine, joined us as CORE head of biosciences following his two year postdoctoral position with Professor Jason Nichols at the University of Alabama. William will expand our capabilities in dry eye and molecular biology. Four students obtained their masters degrees with us, including Jill Woods, our head of clinical research, who obtained her MSc on corneal staining in dry eye and contact lens wear.

MH What are the major areas of research currently being undertaken?

LJ CORE’s main areas of research are contact lens, dry eye, myopia control and ocular drug delivery. Some of this work has been transformational in nature. CORE was the largest site in the pivotal study that resulted in the Coopervision MiSight lens obtaining FDA approval just before Christmas. CORE also spun off two companies in 2019, with two former graduate students starting OcuBlink (Ocublink.com) and a collaborator of mine (Professor Frank Gu) starting MyX Therapeutics (http://myxthera.com). OcuBlink is a sophisticated eye model that can be used to accelerate research and development for vision and ophthalmic products. The testing platform will help research centres, pharmaceutical and ophthalmic companies validate their technologies more rapidly and cost-effectively. By vetting ideas and prototypes at an earlier stage, companies can save thousands to millions of dollars in wasted resources, and significantly reduce the number of animal studies undertaken.

Furthermore, by testing products on these controlled eye models, it also allows for a deeper understanding of the underlying science. To date, the platform has been used in a number of drug delivery, deposition, wettability and dehydration studies and resulted in the publication of a number of peer-reviewed publications.1-6 In addition, they have developed a unique model to allow clinicians to practice foreign body removal from a realistic-feeling hydrogel corneal surface. That can be purchased to train clinicians on how to undertake this essential skill.7 Professor Gu and myself have a patent-protected slow release platform8 that has been developed for extended delivery of products to mucosal surfaces, including the eye.9-13 This platform technology resulted in the formation of MyX Therapeutics that will further develop and aim to license this concept for a variety of products, including those in humans and the veterinary space.

MH How did the recent Canadian Dry Eye Summit (CDES) in Toronto go? Given your extensive travel commitments, it must have been nice to have an event closer to home.

LJ It was indeed nice to not have to travel far. This was the second year for the CDES and it was a sold out event over two days, with both clinicians and support staff from across Canada in attendance. CORE was represented by myself and Karen Walsh. We spoke on the topic of dry eye and contact lenses and Karen wrote up the conference as a conference report for our online magazine, ContactLensUpdate, which is published six times per year and financially supported by Alcon, Coopervision and Johnson & Johnson. ContactLensUpdate saw its 50th issue published this year and it includes highlights of the CDES meeting, including lots of useful, practical tips on how to start a dry eye practice and downloadable resources.

MH What can readers expect from your joint presentation with Prof Philip Morgan at Optrafair?

LJ In this session, Phil and I intend to have a very interactive chat with the audience on six important contact lens-related areas. We will present the latest research findings and discuss how this information can be employed in clinical practice to optimise patient care and maximise the success of contact lenses. We will cover the importance of the eyelids to contact lens success, discuss the differences between modern soft contact lens materials and their clinical relevance and talk about the latest findings on the use of contact lenses for the management of myopia. We will also discuss how to reduce contact lens drop-outs, how ocular surface inflammation may be critical to our understanding of several contact lens-related problems and address the importance of compliance in contact lens wear and which behavioural steps are the most important for avoiding adverse events. It should be a fun session, packed with practical tips and we hope your readers can come and join us.

MH The UK practices you owned along with your wife in the 1990s were known for embracing new equipment and technology. Was Optrafair a useful show for you back then?

LJ For sure. Debbie and I would attend every Optrafair with our dispensing partner, Colin Collett, and we almost always ended up purchasing some new piece of high-tech kit alongside new frames for our two practices in Sidcup, Kent, and Eltham, London.

Don't miss your opportunity to hear from Professor Lyndon Jones at Optrafair 20/20 on 4-6 April. Find out more about him here and register free to book onto his sessions.

This article was written by Optician Magazine.

About Optician:
Optician magazine is the leading independent, weekly, UK journal for eye care professionals. Since 1891 it has been publishing news, views and analysis on all aspects of the optical profession and business. Find out more at opticianonline.net

Phan CM, Walther H, Smith RW, Riederer D, Lau C, Osborn Lorenz K, Subbaraman LN, Jones L. Determination of the release of PEG and HPMC from nelfilcon A daily disposable contact lenses using a novel in vitro eye model. J Biomater Sci Polym Ed 2018;29:2124-36.
Walther H, Phan CM, Subbaraman LN, Jones L. Differential Deposition of Fluorescently Tagged Cholesterol on Commercial Contact Lenses Using a Novel In Vitro Eye Model. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2018;7:18.
Phan CM, Walther H, Qiao H, Shinde R, Jones L. Development of an Eye Model With a Physiological Blink Mechanism. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2019;8:1.
Phan CM, Walther H, Riederer D, Lau C, Lorenz KO, Subbaraman LN, Jones L. Analysis of polyvinyl alcohol release from commercially available daily disposable contact lenses using an in vitro eye model. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 2019;107:1662-8.
Bajgrowicz M, Phan CM, Subbaraman LN, Jones L. Release of Ciprofloxacin and Moxifloxacin From Daily Disposable Contact Lenses From an In Vitro Eye Model. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56:2234-42.
Phan CM, Bajgrowicz M, Gao H, Subbaraman LN, Jones LW. Release of Fluconazole from Contact Lenses Using a Novel In Vitro Eye Model. Optom Vis Sci 2016;93:387-94.
Phan CM, Walther H, L J. Development of a polymeric eye model for foreign body removal. Optometric Education 2019;45:1-6.
Gu F, L J, Liu S, inventors; Mucoadhesive nanoparticle delivery system. 2015.
Liu S, Jones L, Gu FX. Nanomaterials for ocular drug delivery. Macromol Biosci 2012;12:608-20.
Liu S, Jones L, Gu FX. Development of mucoadhesive drug delivery system using phenylboronic acid functionalized poly(D,L-lactide)-b-dextran nanoparticles. Macromol Biosci 2012;12:1622-6.
Liu S, Chang CN, Verma MS, Hileeto D, Muntz A, Stahl U, Woods J, Jones LW, Gu FX. Phenylboronic acid modified mucoadhesive nanoparticle drug carriers facilitate weekly treatment of experimentally induced dry eye syndrome. Nano Research 2014;8:621-35.
Verma MS, Liu S, Jones L, Gu FX. Dextran-based nanoparticles for sustained drug delivery: Applications in dry eye treatment and cancer therapy. In: Dextran: Chemical Structure, Applications and Potential Side Effects, 2014: 31-61.
Liu S, Dozois MD, Chang CN, Ahmad A, Ng DL, Hileeto D, Liang H, Reyad MM, Boyd S, Jones LW, Gu FX. Prolonged Ocular Retention of Mucoadhesive Nanoparticle Eye Drop Formulation Enables Treatment of Eye Diseases Using Significantly Reduced Dosage. Mol Pharm 2016;13:2897-905.

Author: Mike Hale, Optician Magazine