UMSL optometrist offers new contact lens technology for all eye shapes, sizes

Julie DeKinder

Associate Clinical Professor Julie DeKinder holds a mold of an eye, which started as a compound applied over the entirety of the eye and solidified to capture the corneal shape. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Contacts or glasses? It’s a new and happy dilemma for patients with irregularly shaped corneas. Thanks to EyePrintPROTM, a new contact lens technology offered at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, contacts are now an option for patients with uniquely shaped eyes.

“EyePrintPROTM is an optically clear prosthetic scleral cover shell designed to match the exact contours of the individual eye,” says Julie DeKinder, associate clinical professor in the College of Optometry at UMSL. “For most patients with irregular corneal shape, a specialty contact lens will work to improve their vision. However, in some special cases, the anterior surface of the eye is so irregular not even a specialty contact lens will work.”

DeKinder, along with the college’s Dean Larry Davis, began work on bringing the EyePrintPROTM technology, developed at the University of Iowa, to UMSL after a marathon of unsuccessful contact lens fittings on several patients.

“We had been working to fit one patient for several years, and we had ordered 22 different scleral lenses,” she says. “After all that, we still had not achieved an adequate fit.”

But the EyePrintPROTM solves this problem by creating a mold of the eye prior to the creation of the contact lens in the laboratory.

“The eye molding is a very simple process,” DeKinder says. “A gentle compound is applied to the front of the eye, much like a large contact lens. The compound sets up in about a minute and is removed. The impression process only takes a few minutes and provides the exact shape of the eye to the laboratory for duplication.”

Chief of contact lens services, director of residencies and coordinator of the contact lens residency, DeKinder knows all the ins and outs of contact lenses and their application, but she is most fascinated by specialty lens work.

“Fitting specialty contact lenses is challenging and rewarding,” she says. “There are many patients that are unable to see without a specialty contact lens.”

It also offers DeKinder options when she’s trying to diagnose and improve a patient’s vision.

“You never know what condition is going to be sitting in the exam chair,” she says. “It is an amazing opportunity to figure out what is going to help each patient see the best, but more importantly, be able to live their life to the fullest. That is my goal with every patient.”

And for more than 10 years DeKinder has pursued that goal at UMSL.

“I have a great deal of pride for UMSL College of Optometry,” she says. “In my time here, I’ve seen positive change, made life-long friends and shaped a career that I am proud of.”


This story was originally published in the spring 2016 issue of
UMSL Magazine.

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