I cannot recall another time during my 10+ years in this profession that the contact lens industry has experienced such an influx in newly designed contact lenses and products. This update will provide a summary of the newest 1-day spherical releases by all of the major lens manufacturers that both eye doctors and patients interested in new technologies will understand.
Within the last couple of years, all four of the major soft lens manufacturers launched a 1 day premium lens designed to combat dry eyes, red eyes, and end-of-the-day comfort. All but one of these lenses contain silicone, previously absent from the 1-day lens offerings. Silicone provides more oxygen permeability – i.e. they allow the eye to breathe through the lens more efficiently – but complicates the design and manufacturing process. A purely silicone lens would theoretically breath quite well, but would be very rigid and quite uncomfortable in the eye. Thus each lens company has a slightly different approach in combining the silicone with other materials and wetting agents. All lenses but one offer UVA and UVB protection (the exception is noted below).
Coopervision recently launched their flagship My Day daily lens. This lens, at only 4.4% silicone, has less silicone than any other daily lens on the market. This still allows great breathability while allowing the other materials to retain moisture. In clinical practice, I find this lens to be particular superior in fitting hyperopic (far-sighted) patients. Hyperopic soft lenses are much thicker than myopic lenses and something about this particular combination of materials provides a subjectively comfortable experience.
Coopervision also recently updated the design of their Clariti 1-Day lens, a lens that was previously designed and produced by Sauflon, a company Cooper recently acquired. The lens material and optics remain unchanged, but it now features a more fortunate edge design that lends itself to providing significantly improved comfort.
Johnson and Johnson Vision Care (previously known as Vistakon) launched Acuvue Oasys 1 Day with HydraLuxe a few months ago. The original 2-week replacement Oasys lens material is improved upon by increasing the lens diameter for improved stabilization during blinking, an enlarged optics zone to help in low light, and a new wetting agent (HydraLuxe) that is marketed as a tear-like network throughout the entire lens, not just a coating. Like the original Oasys lens, this is a relatively easy lens to fit and patients recognize the familiar branding.
Alcon’s premier Dailies Total One was the first daily silicone hydrogel lens and it continues to gain market share. The unique design combines a mostly silicone core with an outer coating that approaches 100% water content with nearly zero silicone at the surface. This lens allows 6x more oxygen permeability than any other daily lens. Notably absent is any UV protection whatsoever (none of Alcon’s soft contacts offer UV protection). Clinically, I find this lens to be a little “fussy” in that a new fit will sometimes result in unexpected over-refactions (i.e. the power of the lens needs to be adjusted and will require valuable extra doctor “chair-time”).
It is worth mentioning Bausch and Lomb’s premium Biotrue ONEday lens does not contain any silicone. Instead, the science behind Biotrue contacts attempts to match the water content of the cornea (78%) and has a wetting agent that mimics the lipid layer of the eye’s own tear film layer.
On the horizon:
My office is presently fitting and testing an unreleased product that is optically designed to reduce eye strain and fatigue while working on computers and electronic devices all day long. Thus far, patient feedback has been quite positive. Due to non disclosure agreements, I cannot share any further information at this time, but I am certain that spherical lens designs like this will be commonplace in the near future.
Furthermore, I have confirmed through industry sources that the R&D departments of multiple lens companies are carefully looking at blue light blocking materials and filters in soft lenses. While it is known that blue light is more damaging to the anatomical structures inside of the eye than other visible light wavelengths, it may be a great deal of time before we see this type of technology in a mass-produced contact lens.
Next month’s article will discuss all of the new 1-day multifocal lens offerings. Thanks for reading. -Dr. Andrew Neukirch