Scientists are working tirelessly on advances in contact lens materials and technologies in an effort to better serve existing contact lens wearers and appeal to new candidates. If you rely on contacts for vision correction, you may be interested in some of these recent advances, described here by the team at Schwartz Laser Eye Center.
Renewed Focus on Comfort and Patient Experience
According to research from the American Optometric Association, almost half of contact lens wearers who discontinue the use of their lenses do so because of discomfort. Comfort is a particularly big problem for those who spend a lot of time working on a computer or looking at digital devices.
With the recent uptick in remote work/school and virtual communication, eye doctors and scientists have a renewed interest in making contact lens-wearing a more comfortable experience. Lenses made from silicone hydrogel (SiHy) technology offer enhanced comfort because they allow more oxygen to pass through the cornea than other soft lenses. Although the highly breathable SiHy lenses are not new, more doctors are starting to recommend them for patients who struggle with lens-related discomfort.
Last year Bausch + Lomb received FDA approval for the Infuse SiHy lenses, which are designed to minimize discomfort on the ocular surface and maintain tear retention. One study showed the Infuse lenses maintain 96 percent of their moisture for 16 hours.
Another exciting advance in contact lens technology is transition lenses, which automatically adjust to changing light conditions. New technology enables lenses to darken in the sun, reducing glare and offering a more comfortable experience. When returning to a normal or dimly lit environment, the lenses assume a regular tint.
What’s on the Horizon
A new class of futuristic contact lenses is on the horizon.
Some of these contacts will continually deliver medications directly to the eyes, eliminating some of the problems associated with topical eye drop dosing and compliance. For instance, Johnson & Johnson is seeking approval of lenses that release a medication called ketotifen that alleviates itchy eyes associated with eye allergies. Also, Leo Lens Technology is working on lenses that gradually deliver glaucoma medication for up to seven days to lower intraocular pressure.
Other exciting contact lens developments include lenses that monitor blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and lenses that could fight digital eye fatigue.
For the most up-to-date information about contact lens advances, speak with one of the knowledgeable doctors at Schwartz Laser Eye Center today!