Mark Eddleston Receives the EFCLIN Award


Contamac is delighted to announce that Dr Mark Eddleston, Project Manager in Contamac’s Research and Development team, received the EFCLIN Award at the 50th Annual EFCLIN Congress and Exhibition in Vilamoura, Portugal in April 2024.

For the past 2 years, Mark partnered with EUROMCONTACT and EFCLIN to produce a dossier of information to justify a derogation for Gas Permeable (GP) Contact Lenses from the upcoming restriction on PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances). 

“As a chemist who works with GP contact lens materials, I have a strong appreciation for how critical PFAS are for contact lens performance. So, when I met Pascale Rouhier, the secretary general of EUROMCONTACT, and she informed me that the EU was on course to ban PFAS, it fully grabbed my attention.

It was quickly apparent that such a ban could dramatically reduce the performance of GP contact lenses, and would not bring much benefit, as the risks posed by the particular PFAS used in GP contact lenses are minimal.

The negative impact of a PFAS ban would be felt both by the contact lens industry and by patients. Once I realised that enormous numbers of current GP wearers were in danger of no longer being able to tolerate lens wear, and of suffering substantial decreases in vision as a result, I had to do whatever I could to try to prevent such an outcome.”

Mark directed his focus on working with EUROMCONTACT to convince the EU to allow PFAS use in contact lenses to continue, and he set about compiling comprehensive reports that detailed the essentiality of PFAS for protecting the safety and eye health of GP wearers, the complete lack of suitable alternatives to PFAS and the low toxicity of the PFAS that are used in contact lenses.

Going further, Mark prepared a peer-reviewed scientific paper titled ‘The Consequences of Removing Fluorinated Compounds from Rigid Contact Lenses and conducted a socioeconomic analysis of the negative impact of removing PFAS from GP contact lenses, demonstrating that the cost to the EU economy would be over €5 billion per year. It is hoped that such data will be very hard for the EU to ignore.

These efforts were supported by colleagues at EFCLIN, Contamac and other material manufacturers, and were complemented by contributions from many other experts across the sector. This resulted in a dossier that was a major undertaking, comprising over 100 pages of documentation and demanding collectively over 1000 hours of input.

“Thanks to Pascale and Laure-Anne at EUROMCONTACT, we have a dossier that powerfully supports the interests of the contact lens sector and GP contact lens wearers. The dossier is currently being reviewed by the EU, but because the PFAS restriction is such a big endeavour, affecting almost every sector of industry, the review process is taking far longer than expected. What can be said right now is that the case that was made for GP contact lenses to receive an exemption from the PFAS ban is likely the most comprehensive and compelling that was given for any medical device, so there is a strong expectation of a positive outcome.”

"Mark’s unparalleled commitment and expertise leading our PFAS WG have been instrumental to EuromContact, enabling us to strongly advocate for the industry. Mark demonstrated a unique ability to combine a meticulous, scientific approach with a profound knowledge of both products and patients’ needs, making complex issues understandable for all. His patience and dedication allowed us to build one of the strongest cases for our industry, benefiting the entire sector. We are deeply grateful for his unwavering support and outstanding contributions."
Laure-Anne Copel
Secretary General - Euromcontact

As alluded to in Mark’s acceptance speech;

"Speciality contact lenses are so important for wearers [...] There are over a million people in Europe who, without GP contact lenses, would be in a position where their visual acuity is reduced by a significant amount, even with glasses and soft contact lenses. These million people need rigid contact lenses to be able to work, to drive, to enjoy a good quality of life, and even to be able to see their children clearly. The benefits of speciality contact lenses are just incredible."
Mark Eddleston
Project Manager

The entire team at Contamac is extremely proud of Mark and congratulates him on this recognition of his efforts and dedication over the past 2 years. He is incredibly deserving of the award, and we hope that his efforts are acknowledged further afield.

PFAS are uniquely important in rigid contact lenses to provide wearers with adequate oxygen permeability, deposit resistance and dimensional stability and thus avoid infections and lens intolerance. This has been demonstrated in a recent peer-reviewed scientific paper. No other substances currently come close to matching the performance of PFAS in rigid lenses, suggesting that PFAS may be irreplaceable.

Special thank you to Silke Sage for the photographs.