What's New in Contact Lenses and Solutions
CDC Report: Millions of Americans Take Unnecessary
Risks With Their Contact Lenses
August 2015 Are contact lenses dangerous? They don't have to be especially if you follow your eye care provider's recommendations and take common-sense precautions when wearing them.
Unfortunately, a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals millions of Americans who wear contact lenses do things that can significantly increase their risk for eye infections. The findings come from an online survey of contact lens wearers designed to assess the prevalence of contact lens wear and hygiene-related risk behaviors.
And here's the bad news: nearly all (approximately 99 percent) of the contact lens wearers surveyed reported at least one habit or behavior that increases their risk of eye infections. Risk behaviors reported included:
- Napping while wearing contacts (87.1 percent)
- Wearing contact lenses while showering (84.9 percent)
- Using lens storage case longer than recommended replacement frequency (82.3 percent)
- Wearing contact lenses while swimming (61.0 percent)
- "Topping off" disinfecting solution in lens storage case and using it again (55.1 percent)
- Wearing contact lenses overnight while sleeping (50.2 percent)
- Using lenses longer than the recommended replacement frequency (49.9 percent)
Napping while wearing your contact lenses? You're risking eye problems, including infection.
Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly one third of respondents reported having experienced a red and/or painful eye that required a visit to a doctor.
Approximately 1,000 contact lens wearers completed the risk survey. Most of the respondents (82 percent) were female, and 62 percent were age 40 or older.
According to CDC, the findings will help create prevention messages aimed at contact lens wearers, which will include recommendations to:
- Avoid exposing contact lenses to water of any kind (other than approved lens care solutions).
- Discard disinfecting solution from lens storage case after each use (don't "top off" and re-use solution a second time).
- Discard and replace contact lens storage case at least every three months.
In a separate population-based online survey of more than 4,200 respondents, CDC estimates that 40.9 million Americans age 18 years and older currently wear contact lenses (16.7 percent of U.S. adults). Overall, contact lens wearers in the United States are younger, female, more educated, and of white non-Hispanic ethnicity, compared with the demographics of non-wearers, according to the survey. Most contact lens wearers in the U.S. (93 percent) wear soft lenses, which are designed to be discarded after a specified period of time.
U.S. Launch of Clear Care Plus Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution for Soft and GP Contact Lenses
July 2015 New in the U.S. is Clear Care Plus, a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning and disinfecting solution with HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix technology.
According to manufacturer Alcon, HydraGlyde is a wetting technology that surrounds contact lenses with moisture that endures, complementing moisture from the wearer's tears. And Clear Care Plus is preservative-free, to reduce any possibility of eye irritation.
Just like Clear Care, Clear Care Plus contains 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and can be used for both soft and gas permeable lenses. The special lens case required for the hydrogen peroxide to neutralize is included in each package, including travel size.
Silicone Hydrogel Daily Disposable Offers Soft Feel and High Oxygen Permeability
July 2015 CooperVision has launched MyDay daily disposable contact lenses in the United States. They are made of a new silicone hydrogel material that is only 4.4% silicon, which the company says makes room for moisture that the eyes need to stay comfortable.
The lenses are very oxygen permeable and soft, with a smooth surface and rounded edges. Testing has shown that they are immediately comfortable upon insertion, with continued comfort as the day progresses.
They also filter 85 percent of UVA and 96 percent of UVB rays (though sunglasses are still required outdoors, since the lenses do not cover the entire eye).
Lens powers range from +6.00D to -10.00D, and MyDay comes in 90-packs. Currently MyDay is in limited distribution but should be available nationwide by early fall.
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New Daily Disposable Multifocal Contacts Available
July 2015 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care announced a new daily disposable contact lens with an aspheric center-near design that the company says closely matches the optical design to the wearer's pupil size for better vision.
The 1-Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal comes in 61 distance powers from +6.00D to -9.00D and three add powers, to give contact lens fitters lots of options to fit people with various needs.
The lens's back curve design helps keep the lens centered over the pupil, with the aspheric center mimicking the natural shape of the eye's surface. Such stability can help the complex front-surface optics do their job in delivering clear vision at various distances.
For comfort, a wetting agent is embedded in the lens material. And the 1-Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal blocks about 82 percent of UVA and 97 percent of UVB rays. (But sunglasses are still required for complete UV protection outdoors, since the contact lens doesn't cover the entire eye).
An inside-out mark and visibility tint are also included, and the lenses come in 30- and 90-packs.
Now You Can Highlight Your Eyes Without Changing Their Color!
December 2014 Already on the market in Asia, new 1-Day Acuvue Define contact lenses are now available at a limited number of eye care locations in the United States.
These daily disposable contact lenses are designed to enhance your eyes without changing their color. An outer darker limbal ring adds contrast between the iris and sclera, while an inner translucent pattern adds depth and highlights to the iris.
1-Day Acuvue Define lenses will be available in three styles: Natural Sparkle, Natural Shimmer and Natural Shine. They will come in two base curves, in a no-power version as well as powers from +1.00 D to -9.00 D.
And they will be available in many more locations in the first half of 2015. Please click here for before-and-after photos of models wearing Natural Shimmer and Natural Sparkle.
Google and Eye Care Company Alcon Planning New
"Smart" Contact Lenses
July 2014 Contact lens maker Alcon (a divison of Novartis) is licensing Google's "smart lens" technology for all medical uses related to the eye.
Alcon says it will collaborate with Google to create contact lenses with embedded sensors and other miniaturized electronics to measure glucose levels in the tear fluid of the eyes.
The measurements would be transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device, for viewing by diabetic patients and their doctors.
Another possible use of the technology would be to provide near-focusing capability for intraocular lenses that are implanted during cataract surgery. This would benefit people with presbyopia who would otherwise need reading glasses.
The collaboration will not be final until anti-trust approvals are obtained.
Bausch + Lomb Announces FDA Clearance for
Biotrue OneDay for Presbyopia
July 2014 Biotrue OneDay for Presbyopia contact lenses have received FDA approval, and they are expected to launch soon.
This new option for people who are at the age of needing reading glasses uses the same 3-Zone Progressive design found in Bausch + Lomb's PureVision2 Multi-Focal for Presbyopia.
But Biotrue OneDay for Presbyopia is a daily disposable lens, so it offers the convenience and eye health benefits of lenses that are discarded at the end of the day. People with allergies or who travel a lot will especially appreciate the daily disposable feature.
The new contacts are made of what the company calls bio-inspired HyperGel, providing comfortable vision at near, intermediate and far distances.
Air Optix Colors Launched
May 2014 These new color contact lenses from Alcon are made of a highly breathable silicone hydrogel contact lens material to help eyes remain white and healthy-looking, and they feature an ultra-smooth plasma surface technology for consistent, all-day wearing comfort, according to the company.
The new lenses are designed for daily (not overnight) wear and are available in both subtle colors (blue, green, pure hazel, gray and brown) and vibrant colors (brilliant blue, gemstone green, honey and sterling gray).
All Air Optix Colors lenses feature the same 3-in-1 embedded color technology used in the company's FreshLook brand of hydrogel color contact lenses, for a beautiful, natural appearance, the company says.
According to documents filed with the FDA, Air Optix Colors lenses transmit more than 95 percent of visible light for good vision in virtually all lighting conditions. They are available in a wide range of powers to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Air Optix Colors also are available without refractive power, for people with naturally good vision who simply want to change or enhance the color of their eyes.
New Peroxide-Based Cleaner with Shorter Neutralizing Time
May 2014 PeroxiClear 3% hydrogen peroxide cleaning and disinfecting solution neutralizes in four hours (other peroxide cleaners require six).
The solution also contains what Bausch + Lomb calls Triple-Moist Technology, which the company says helps provide up to 20 hours of moisture. And it's preservative-free.
PeroxiClear will be available at most retailers across the United States in June.
(Mouse-over the image for a larger view.)
Google Is Patenting a Contact Lens Camera
May 2014 The end may be near for that awkwardness Google Glass wearers experience when others worry about being photographed without permission. A more subtle device may be in the works now.
According to a report by Patently Mobile (formerly Patent Bolt), Google has applied for a patent on a tiny camera system that could be embedded in the smart contact lenses it is developing.
The proposed method of controlling the camera is by using the wearer's own blinking patterns. The images captured wouldn't necessarily produce photos or videos; for example, the data could be used to help a blind person navigate a crosswalk safely.
Precise details about what the camera component would be made of or where it would be placed on the lens are not available yet. But presumably it would be FDA-evaluated for safety in the eye and positioned where it couldn't obstruct the wearer's vision. (Image: Patently Mobile)
Antimicrobial Lenses Could Reduce Contact Lens-Related
Eye Infections, Study Finds
May 2014 Contact lenses treated with an antimicrobial peptide called melimine can be safely worn by humans and may reduce the risk of contact lens-related eye infections should such lenses become commercially available.
Researchers in Australia investigated the performance of melimine-coated contacts on both animal and human eyes. Melimine is a cationic peptide, a substance produced by the body's immune system that has a broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity to reduce inflammation and infection.
The melimine-coated lenses were applied to rabbit eyes for 22 days for a preliminary assessment of the safety of the lenses. A human clinical trial of the lenses was then performed, with participants wearing the melamine-coated lens on one eye and a standard soft contact lens (control lens) on the other eye for eight hours.
The subjects were examined immediately after the lenses were removed, and again at one week and four weeks after lens removal, to rule out delayed toxicity effects.
In the rabbit trial, the melimine-coated lenses produced no signs of toxicity, inflammation or other eye problems. In the human trial, no significant differences in eye health were observed between the eyes wearing the melimine-coated lenses and those wearing the control lenses, and there were no significant differences in lens comfort, dryness or awareness. Also, the melimine-coated lenses retained significant antimicrobial qualities against bacteria commonly associated with contact lens-related eye infections after being worn for an eight-hour period.
Though these results are promising, more clinical trials are needed to determine if similar antimicrobial lenses reduce contact lens-related adverse events, especially during extended wear, said the study authors. A report of the study appeared in the May issue of Optometry and Vision Science. (See previous coverage below.)
Dailies AquaComfort Plus Now in Astigmatism
and Multifocal Versions
April 2014 Alcon Laboratories has expanded its Dailies AquaComfort Plus daily disposable contact lens portfolio to include toric lenses for astigmatism and multifocal lenses for presbyopia.
Like the company's core Dailies AquaComfort Plus lenses, the new lenses correct a wide range of nearsightedness and farsightedness and are designed to be discarded after a single use.
The toric lenses correct up to -1.75 diopters (D) of astigmatism, and the multifocal lenses are available in designs to correct low, medium and high amounts of presbyopia.
The new lenses are available immediately from eye care practitioners who offer Alcon contacts.
Bausch + Lomb Launches Ultra Contact Lens with MoistureSeal Technology
March 2014 End-of-day comfort for contact lens wearers was one of the goals during the development of the new Ultra contact lenses by Bausch + Lomb, especially after a long day of using computers and other digital devices.
The monthly replacement lenses are made of silicone hydrogel and are manufactured using the company's MoistureSeal Technology. Ultra contact lenses are available in certain areas now and will continue to roll out nationwide this spring.
Will Antimicrobial Coatings Reduce Contact Lens Infections?
November 2013 Researchers at the Brien Holden Vision Institute and School of Optometry are working on an antimicrobial coating that might reduce inflammation and infection that can occur with contact lens wear.
The coating uses a peptide called melimine, which has proven to be effective against various pathogens including bacteria, fungi and Acanthamoeba.
The coating is heat stable and does not alter the physical dimensions of contact lenses. Additionally, the coating is wettable, but not toxic to mammalian cells.
The risk of infection with contact lens wear is rare. It occurs in only four in 10,000 daily wear and 20 in 10,000 extended wear contact lens users annually. However, severe infections can lead to vision loss.
New Travel Size for Unique pH Contact Lens Solution
September 2013 Unique pH multipurpose contact lens solution by Menicon now comes in a two fluid ounce bottle, which meets TSA guidelines for carrying liquids on board aircraft.
The bottle incorporates the latest Blow-Fill-Seal technology, so the dropper tip is sealed to provide extra insurance against the unopened bottle leaking during a flight.
To unseal, just screw the cap clockwise as far as it will go, and it will pierce the seal.
The travel pack also includes a lens case, and it is available on the Menicon webstore (soon to be on Amazon.com and Drugstore.com as well).
To find out if Unique pH solution is appropriate for your contact lenses, ask your eye care practitioner.
1-Day Acuvue TruEye Now Available in New Material and Additional Base Curve, to Fit More People
July 2013 1-Day Acuvue TruEye Brand Contact Lenses has been relaunched in the United States in a new material and an additional base curve.
The material, narafilcon A, is designed to help maintain the natural ocular environment, allowing it to offer exceptional comfort, according to manufacturer Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.
In a recent 74-subject study, the lenses were found to have no clinically significant effect on the ocular surface of the eye as compared with non-contact lens wearers across five of six contact lens-related measures associated with eye health. The lenses also provided high levels of comfort from morning to night, comparable to wearing no lenses at all.
Other features include 100 percent corneal oxygen consumption at all points for healthy eyes and the highest level of UV protection in a contact lens, according to Vistakon. In fact, the lens blocks about 96 percent of UVA rays and more than 99 percent of UVB rays that reach the lens.
With two base curves (8.5 and 9.0), more people can now be fitted with 1-Day Acuvue TruEye than ever before. Ask your eye care practitioner about 1-Day Acuvue TruEye (narafilcon A), which comes in 90-packs.
Contact Lens Wear Linked to Higher Self-Esteem in Children
July 2013 Children who wear contact lenses to correct nearsightedness exhibit higher self-esteem both before and after they begin contact lens wear, compared with those of the same age who wear glasses, according to a new study.
Not all teens are good candidates for contact lenses. But for those who are, higher self-esteem could be a benefit.
Researchers at Stony Brook University School of Medicine (New York) used standardized tests to evaluate the self-esteem of 423 myopic children ages 12 to 17, six years after they had enrolled in the Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET).
The COMET study was designed to evaluate the effect of wearing progressive eyeglass lenses vs. regular (single vision) eyeglass lenses on the progression of nearsightedness in children over a period of at least three years. Five years after enrollment in the COMET study, participants could choose to continue wearing eyeglasses or be fitted with contact lenses.
At the six-year follow-up visit when self-esteem data were gathered, the mean age of the study participants was 15.3 years, and the mean amount of nearsightedness was -4.6 diopters (D).
In addition to using standardized self-esteem tests, the researchers also evaluated self-reported measures of self-esteem by the study participants in several areas: scholastic/athletic competence, physical appearance, social acceptance, behavioral conduct and overall feelings of self-worth. Results were compared with baseline self-esteem scores recorded prior to contact lens wear.
Results revealed that children who chose to wear contact lenses after five years of wearing glasses during the COMET study had higher social acceptance, athletic competence and behavioral conduct scores at baseline compared with eyeglass wearers. One year later, the contact lens wearers continued to report higher social acceptance scores after adjusting for baseline scores and other variables.
The study authors concluded that children who chose to wear contact lenses after five years of wearing eyeglasses for myopia correction had higher self-esteem both before and one year after initiating contact lens wear compared with children who continued to wear eyeglasses. The results of the study also suggest self-esteem may influence the decision by children to wear contact lenses, and that contact lens wear in turn is associated with even higher self-esteem among children most likely to wear them, they said.
The study report appeared on the website of the journal Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics in June.
Dailies Total 1: Innovative "Water Gradient" Contact Lenses
July 2013 Dailies Total 1 are the first and only water gradient lenses, says manufacturer Alcon, and are the result of more than a decade of product development. The daily disposable soft lenses feature an inner core that is 33 percent water, and the water content increases to more than 80 percent at the front and back surfaces of the lenses.
This water gradient design significantly increases the wearing comfort of the lenses, with nine of 10 wearers surveyed reporting the lenses were so comfortable they had no awareness of having a contact lens on their eye.
Dailies Total 1 lenses also have the highest surface lubricity (slipperiness) tested and the highest breathability of any daily disposable contact lens on the market, according to the company.
Currently the lenses are for nearsightedness only, in powers ranging from -0.50 to -10.00 diopters. In the near future, Dailies Total 1 lenses also will be available for farsightedness and astigmatism. The lenses are for one-day use only and come in boxes of 30 or 90 lenses from eye care providers nationwide.
Many Daily Disposable Contact Lens Wearers Fail
to Use Their Lenses as Directed
July 2013 Daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn just once, and then discarded at the end of the day. But many users wear the lenses overnight or re-use them, according to a new study.
If you're re-using or sleeping in your daily disposables, you're not doing your eyes any favors.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo coordinated the international study, which surveyed daily disposable contact lens wearers in optometric practices in Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A total of 805 lens wearers completed the survey. The median age of respondents was 38 years, and 66 percent were female. Overall, 9 percent of the respondents did not remove and discard their daily deposable lenses at the end of the day. Noncompliance was highest in Australia (18 percent), followed by the U.S. (12 percent), the U.K. (7 percent) and Norway (4 percent).
There were no differences with respect to gender, years of contact lens wear or lens material. The primary reason given for using the lenses longer than advised was "to save money" (60 percent). Three out of four of the noncompliant wearers reported occasional napping while wearing the lenses, and 28 percent reported wearing the lenses overnight while sleeping at least one night in the preceding month.
The survey also revealed that re-use of daily disposable contact lenses resulted in reduced comfort at lens insertion and prior to lens removal.
A report of the study appeared this month on the website of the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye.
"Survival Guide" Offers Tips for Getting Through the Allergy Season
April 2013 If you're a contact lens wearer who suffers from eye allergies, watch this new video by contact lens manufacturer CooperVision.
Called "Helping Deal with Allergies While Wearing Contacts," the video provides tips for dealing with this season's itchy, burning, watery eyes.
The company also offers eye allergy fact sheets, allergy survival tips, access to The Weather Channel's Allergy Index and more videos about eye allergies.
You can find it all by visiting the CooperVision Allergy Survival Guide on Facebook.
Contamination of Daily Disposable Contacts When Re-Used
February 2013 Do you ever store your daily disposable contacts in their packaging and then use them again the next day? If so, you're risking an eye infection.
In a study, 20 people wore their daily disposables for one day, then stored them overnight in the original blister pack solution, covered with the original packaging foil.
The next morning they used new plastic forceps to transfer the lenses and solution to a new contact lens case, which was submitted to a lab. The participants did this on five occasions within a month.
The lab compared the 200 samples with a control group of new daily disposable contacts and packaging solution.
The lab found that 45.5 percent of the samples had growths in the solution, and 21.5 percent of these had Staphylococci, while 28 percent had gram negative rods. For 95 percent of the participants, at least one pair of contact lenses was contaminated, and for 35 percent, all samples were contaminated.
The study appeared in Optometry and Vision Science, volume 88, issue 12.
FDA Warns Against Improper Use of Special-Effect Contact Lenses
October 2012 Special-effect contact lenses can put the finishing touch to your Halloween or other costume-party attire, but it's definitely not worth losing your sight over.
The FDA has released a consumer update video on the dangers of wearing special effects contact lenses when not properly prescribed by an authorized eye care practitioner, not properly worn and cared for, and purchased from an illegal source.
Improper use of contact lenses can result in serious eye infections, eye abrasions, vision problems and even blindness. To help minimize the risk, visit your eye doctor for a contact lens exam, fitting and prescription before purchasing any contact lenses even if they are non-prescription lenses.
Always follow your ECP's instructions for wearing and caring for your decorative contact lenses. And remember to never share your contacts; doing so could result in serious damage to your eyes, including loss of vision.
Bausch + Lomb To Launch Biotrue OneDay Disposable Contact Lenses
July 2012 If you have blurred vision at the end of your workday, it may be because your contact lenses are losing moisture, which changes their shape and reduces clarity of vision. Biotrue OneDay lenses are a new option to combat this problem.
Manufacturer Bausch + Lomb says the product is a premium daily disposable lens made from a bio-inspired material called HyperGel that helps retain moisture and the proper optical shape of the lens, even after hours of wear.
The company maintains that the material has the best features of both conventional hydrogels and silicone hydrogels, as it contains 78 percent water (the same water content as the cornea) and delivers the oxygen needed by the open eye to maintain healthy, white eyes. And the outer surface of the lens is similar to the lipid layer in the eye's tear film, to prevent moisture loss.
Biotrue OneDay just received FDA approval and will be available in the United States this month. The company also makes Biotrue multi-purpose contact lens solution, which debuted in 2010.
Eye Comfort and Wearing Time May Improve When You Wear Daily Disposable Contact Lenses
May 2012 If you're having problems with contact lens wear, there's a good chance that switching to daily disposable lenses will clear them up.
A recent study included 316 reusable contact lens wearers who were having eye problems (dryness, irritation, discomfort, redness, etc.). Once they were refitted with daily disposable lenses, the prevalence of dryness fell by 19 percent, and the uncomfortable wearing time fell by 35 percent.
The study was supported by funding from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, the makers of Acuvue contact lenses.
Donating Your Contact Lens Rebate Could Provide Eye Exams and Glasses to Several Needy People
May 2012 Want an easy way to help people in developing countries get an eye exam and glasses?
If you wear contact lenses made by CooperVision, during 2012 you can specify that all or part of your rebate be donated to the global eye charity Optometry Giving Sight.
This organization sponsors programs that can provide an eye exam and eyewear to a poor person for just $5. For many people, correcting their vision is life-changing, since it enables them to go to school and work to support their families.
All you have to do is submit your rebate, and you will have an opportunity to designate a donation.
CooperVision makes Avaira, Biofinity, ClearSight and Proclear products, as well as other brands. Just check your contact lens box to see if the company makes your lenses.
Proclear 1 Day Multifocal Now Available
May 2012 Most eye care professionals agree that daily disposable contacts provide the healthiest way to wear contact lenses. Now people with presbyopia have a new daily disposable lens option in Proclear 1 Day Multifocal.
The lenses have a center-near aspheric design and come in a broad power range (+6.00 to -10.00 diopters of sphere). They can help people who need up to +2.50 diopters of reading power.
And they are made of the only lens material that has received FDA approval to claim it "may provide improved comfort for those who experience dryness or mild discomfort during lens wear." This is important for older wearers, who often experience eye dryness.
Ocusoft Debuts Hydrogen Peroxide Contact Lens Cleaner
May 2012 The new Ocusoft Lens Care System is a preservative-free cleaning system for soft contact lenses.
It uses hydrogen peroxide for deep cleaning, removing protein and deposits from lenses. The manufacturer says it also increases comfort with an added lubricant.
In a recent independent study, it was more effective than two-step peroxide, multi-purpose and saline solutions.
Ocusoft Lens Care System is sold through eye care professionals only. Please click here for a close-up image and results from the study.
1-Day Acuvue Moist Contact Lenses for Astigmatism Debut
April 2012 Now 1-Day Acuvue Moist contact lenses come in a toric design for people with astigmatism.
The daily disposable lenses have what Acuvue calls a proprietary Blink Stabilized design, which takes advantage of the natural pressures of blinking eyes to keep the lenses in place and realign them quickly if they rotate. This is important, to keep vision consistently in focus all day.
Made with Lacreon Technology, the lenses have an embedded ingredient designed to maintain moisture all day, to combat dryness and discomfort. They are available in 12 axes and four cylinders, at distance powers of +4.00D to -9.00D. And they block about 82 percent of UV-A and 97 percent of UV-B radiation (though they should be used in conjunction with UV-blocking sunglasses when outdoors).
[Page updated September 22, 2015]