Hamilton optometrist wins award for lens

GEOFF LEWIS
Last updated 13:28 18/06/2014
Paul Rose
KELLY HODEL/Fairfax NZ

CLEAR SIGHT: Retired Hamilton optometrist Paul Rose holds one of the Rose K contact lenses he developed.

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Thousands of people around the world have a new view of life, thanks to Hamilton optometrist Paul Rose.

Earlier this month Rose became the first recipient of the British Contact Lens Association's industry award for the development of his series of Rose K lenses, a contact lens designed to correct the vision of people with keratoconus and other irregular corneal conditions.

Keratoconus is a degenerative disorder in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape distorting vision. About three in 1000 New Zealanders have condition, which cannot be corrected with spectacles or soft lenses.

In many cases those with the condition are legally blind and the corrective lenses allow the patient to function normally.

Rose started in practice in Hamilton in 1969 and retired five years ago. However, his life as an international consultant has been busy and only an injury from a fall prevented him from attending the June 7 British award ceremony.

Rose began his development of the Rose K contact lens in the late 1980s and successive developments have since resulted in six different designs. After it was launched in New Zealand in the early 1990s, the lens was launched in Australia in 1992 and United States in 1994.

Realising the international implications of his designs, Rose joined with a friend and launched Rose K International which gained US Federal Drug Administration approval to distribute in the North American market. The Rose K is now prescribed in 90 countries.

But the business became too big for the pair of friends and in 2008 was sold to Japanese company Menicon, the world's leading manufacturer of hard contact lenses.

Rose was retained by Menicon and remains an international consultant touring and lecturing to optometrists and ophthalmologists.

The BCLA award was launched in 2013 to recognise the entrepreneurial efforts of individuals working in contact lens science, research and technology,

Rose said the positive feedback from patients from around the world made all the efforts worthwhile. geoff.lewis@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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