Note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
David Hutton, Ophthalmology Times: Hello, I’m Jesse Hutton of Ophthalmology times. Dr. Patricia Piers, head of R& D, Ophthalmic Implants at Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, recently received the 2022 Women in Ophthalmology Scientific Contribution Award. This particular award recognizes a physician or non-physician scientist who has made significant contribution in the particular field associated with ophthalmology. Thank you with regard to joining us today. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the contributions you made to ophthalmology that have led in order to this recognition?
Patricia Piers, PhD: Thank you for the question. Yeah, I’ve been involved in, in as many as 20 new product launches. There are always several that stand out. Twice, I’ve already been lucky enough to work on IOLs that were the first in the category. And, you know, the first of this was actually the very first project that I got to work on as a new employee. And that was the particular Tecnics lens, that was the very first ashperic guy well, on the market. Last year, 2021, was the 20th anniversary of the Technics IOL. So I guess that kind associated with dates me a little bit, tells you how long I’ve been working here. But in that, that zoom lens actually evolved into the platform that we have today, that delivers high quality of vision, due to due to its design, and its unique materials.
And all of the particular lenses within the Tecnis family of products are built on that will platform that we created 20 years ago.
The second category creator that I got to work on was the Tecnis Symfony lens, which was the 1st of its kind, extended depth of focus lens, that was also really special. As we were part of the creation of a category it with that will one of lenses for presbyopia correcting. You know, like with anything else, it’s always the ones that you have to fight the hardest for, that are the ones that you’re most proud of.
In discussions associated with products that will I’m most proud of the one that immediately springs in order to mind is the is an is one associated with our current, most present, most innovative products. That’s the Tecnis Eyehance Iol that slightly extends the particular depth of focus regarding patients within the reimburse category. You know, it’s, it’s strange to say that We worked on these right, because as you know, I’m not responsible for anything alone, right? That that would definitely not be fair to express. Science is very rarely done, alone. And I am really blessed to function with very special group of scientists and engineers. And actually, that’s probably the thing that I’m the majority of proud of is the group of really extremely competent, talented individuals that I get to work with every day. So that’s
DH: What does this acknowledgement mean to you?
PP: I feel tremendously honored to represent Johnson plus Johnson Vision, leadership in R& D and Medical Vision. And especially with the WIO, this is the very unique group which extremely welcoming. And really setting the example of women helping ladies lead. I got the privilege of presenting this award to last year’s winner and she was such an impressive individual that will I don’t really feel like I’m remotely in the same league. Now i’m excited to leave any imprint within Ladies in Ophthalmology which i can, as we actually work together, to pave the way for more females in ophthalmology as well as STEM and supporting women within underrepresented areas of science and technology, which I am just also extremely passionate regarding.
DH: Looking to what’s going upon right now, what are some of the latest developments going on that you’re seeing that will impact ophthalmology?
PP: Okay, so , what’s going on in ophthalmology? It’s, it’s really the best thing about this field, right? As a scientist and innovator, it can it, it’s a field that truly gets completely under your skin due to the fact innovation moves very, at a very, very fast pace in this industry. You understand, 2021 was a very exciting year intended for J& J Surgical Eyesight where we launched in order to two really exciting items in the particular US market, the Tecnis Synergy IOL, a high-performance hybrid lens that’s designed for spectacle, independence, and the Tecnis Eyehance IOL, that will slightly extends the level of concentrate for those patients within the monofocal category. And this year, J& M vision announced the Tecnis Symfony, OptiBlue IOL, the particular extended depth of focus lens that expands presbyopia correction to more individuals, and includes the InteliLight technology.
DH: What can these lens… how may they help ophthalmologists provide better outcomes for their sufferers?
PP: Yeah, a person know, once we as all of us go through new editions associated with technology, what we’re exactly what we’re really looking for, will be higher is usually higher quality of vision. Plus, you know, there’s always a balance in everything we do, between providing a range associated with vision, providing a high quality of vision plus providing reduced symptoms. And so even as we as we all continue to innovate in presbyopia correcting lenses, what we’re searching for, is definitely really a better balance. The Tecnis Symfony, OptiBlue, what we what we’ve provided with that will lens is actually looking forward to the best contrast and low light performance in the presbyopia-correcting IOL category. So , every time we’re innovating, we’re striking a better plus better stability between those three things, especially in the presbyopia correcting group that helps surgeons when we are going to reducing symptoms, it helps them to have to deal with less chair time, have less complaints from patients. Higher contrast vision can be making individuals safer. Plus having the larger range of motion is providing all of them wwith increased spectacle self-reliance, or enabling them to perform things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do without spectacles.
DH: You mentioned having a great 2021. Are we still viewing any residual impacts from the pandemic on research and development?
PP: Yeah, we are. And you know, many of it comes from comes from what is certainly trickling down from exactly what we see with the in places of the particular supply chain issues that we observe worldwide, a person know, that will affects all of us also upon the front end of Innovation as nicely. Therefore , I actually think that is mostly where we’re, wish seeing the effects, at least industry. That as well because talent and staffing. And making sure that you’re able to, to function with the best possible people and it’s really taking a lot more time to ensure that if you’re getting the same caliber of scientists and engineers that you actually want in order to drive development forward.
DH: Are we seeing artificial intelligence being integrated into r and d efforts?
PP: Yes, definitely. Tt’s being incorporated in many, many locations. It’s being integrated within diagnosis, is actually being built-in calculations, it’s becoming integrated in design … all throughout the almost all throughout the particular process. I’s not taking, taking away through what people need to perform, but really making our lives easier.
DH: And looking forward. What’s your outlook to get research plus development efforts in ophthalmology in 2023? And beyond?
PP: Oh, gosh, you know, there’s just so much to be done, right. Billions of people during their lifetimes will have eye health needs. And the numbers are increasing every year. We just about all have our own work cut out for us to raise the standards of care and improve outcomes pertaining to all those patients, since well as improving accessibility to treatment and enhance solutions for all. And within cataract R& D, jooxie is faced with aging populations and increased comorbidities. These are really exciting problems to work on. As I described earlier, we’ll always develop new IOLs that will continue to improve and evolve and allow patients in order to have better outcomes plus range associated with vision. The other thing, bringing it back to Women and Ophthalmology, as a member and advocate for Females in Ophthalmology, we carry on to strive to elevate women and I think diversity in ophthalmology within R& Deb. This is through the actions of things like sponsorships and speaking engagements and clinical trials plus R& M engagements to ensure that we actually have a diverse group of people helping to solve all these types of problems that all of us, that I that will I simply mentioned. In order to ensure that we have been offering the very best solutions.