The Contact Lens Laboratory of South Africa began trading in 2008 and although that sounds quite recent, the contact lens manufacturing knowledge of its members and technical team dates back to the early 1990s.
The idea of sparking up a new contact lens manufacturing facility was certainly not a gamble. The gap in the market was very evident as calls, faxes and e-mails came in from across the country pleading for help. Optometrists were looking for something new, something the rest of the world had that South Africa was lacking – new designs and materials for a new millennium.
As a company, we thought it would be in everyone’s best interest if we kept a close eye on global contact lens trends and to try and get the South African RGP market back on track. The first major step forward was to scrap the manufacturing of PMMA lenses completely. This was a duty that international labs had already been following for a decade. Our introduction of Contamac’s 50dk F2 Mid Violet trial material was indeed a giant leap forward for South African Optometrists. The worries of a new patient building up wearing time over a two week period using PMMA were gone. The introduction of new gas permeable materials was essential as many optometrists were still ordering materials like Sm 38 and XL40… both discontinued in the 1990s.
Our next step was to develop an e-value specific aspheric trial set. Local optometrists were eager to see the difference in the fit of a base curve with a 0.8 flattening factor and the same base curve with the tighter 0.6 flattening factor. The results were, as expected, astonishing. Now South Africa had an RGP that focused on true corneal alignment to mask a lot more cyl than the ‘pseudo-aspheric’ well blended tricurve of old. Our release of the Genesis aspheric range of lenses has provided better visual acuity and improved lens comfort to desperate RGP wearers across South Africa.
- In 2011
We introduced the first, locally manufactured, RGP scleral lens. This was again, a global trend that was slowly becoming the lens of choice when dealing with irregular corneas. Large diameter lenses proved to be a challenge. Research and development became a high priority as we attempted to find the fine line between flat and steep scleral curves. With the inability to measure the sclera accurately, we embarked on a ‘hit-and-miss’ campaign to determine common scleral radii. Our SSF 15.6mm scleral lens is the successful product of this timeous and expensive research.
- April 2012 - Medmont Topographer
Saw us introduce ourselves as a Medmont Topographer distributor for South Africa. This ambitious plan here was to bring the optometrist closer to the lab and give us a better understanding of the corneas in question. The lab and its practitioners can now discuss the possible paths to go down and agree on the fit of a local lens before manufacturing it thanks to Medmont’s lens design software.
The availability of imported, out of range, silicon hydrogels also needed a boost so we introduced the Soflex range of lenses on a larger scale. This has given the optometrist a wider choice when dealing with high astigmatism and keratoconus.
- April 2013 - Delta solutions
We imported our first consignment of Delta solutions for RGP lenses from Sauflon, U.K. In the past, this two- bottle system was difficult to obtain and judging by its popularity worldwide, we jumped at the chance to be their preferred supplier.
The Contact Lens Laboratory of S.A. will continue to grow and promises to keep the South African optometric community up to speed with international contact lens developments as and when they happen.
- October 2013 - Rose K contact lenses
We were welcomed into the Menicon family as an authorized Rose K contact lens manufacturer and distributor of the Rose K contact lenses for South Africa and surrounding countries.
We held our first Rose K workshop with Dr. Paul Rose.
- April 2014 - Toric coloured contact lenses
This month brings a new product to our ever growing list, Bio-Colours soft toric coloured contact lenses.
These lenses allow you to customize the colour and pattern combinations on soft conventional contact lenses that are available in toric and spherical script. Sphere script ranges from +20.00 to -20.00 and cyl available up to -9.00 & various base curves are also available. Choose between a variety of clear pupil sizes and iris pattern sizes. The possibilities are endless with Bio-Colours soft toric coloured contact lenses!
Contact your local optometrist for further information.