Daily Contact Lens Innovations for 2021

Feb 17, 2021
5 min read
259 views

A lot happened in 2020—including the release of the most innovative daily disposable lenses yet. Here are the top three innovations in contact lenses that happened last year.

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While 2020 was quite a tough year in general, there were a few bright spots that shined through and gave optometrists new tools to enhance the lives of our patients.

With the world making the quick switch to remote or virtual learning and work, nearly everyone found themselves on a screen more than originally expected. For my patients this had some obvious negative consequences; however, there were some positives as well. My patients became more aware of their eyes and the struggles they were having already. Switching the remote work and learning just exacerbated the problems which then created an opportunity for a discussion on better lens options.

I talked with my patients about what their work setup was at home. Many decided to upgrade their office chair, get a bigger monitor, or change their workspace entirely to enhance their new normal. This was the perfect segue to talk about their ocular surface needs and how upgrading their lenses would be another important change.

We were blessed with some amazing new innovations for 2020 and there are more coming for 2021. Let's dive into what is on the market and the technology that makes these lenses great options for our patients.

The first lens that came out this year: PRECISION1®

PRECISION1® contact lenses were born from Alcon’s expertise in water surface technology. Alcon was the first and is still the only contact lens manufacturer to develop and employ this technology that began with Dailies Total 1. Now, PRECISION1 is a totally new lens that was developed leveraging Alcon’s knowledge in water surface tech. What is really helpful in practice is that this lens was designed specifically to limit contact lens dropout and to enhance the wearing experience.

A really important face we all need to be aware of is that on average 20% of new contact lens wearers stop wearing them in the first year. This is a huge problem for our practices and one that Alcon sought to solve. PRECISION1 addresses the three key drivers of contact lens dropout: vision, comfort, and handling. The end goal is to keep contact lens wearers comfortable and happy in their lenses and be the lens they can start in and stay in.

Unique features of this lens

  • SMARTSURFACE® technology with 80% water at the surface, 51% at the core
  • New SiHy material: verofilcon A
  • Dk/t =100
  • UV Class I blocking
  • Affordable price point and profitable for your practice

Even better news coming for us and our patients is that PRECISION1 Toric is being launched as I write this! Many practices should have the fit set already.

The next lens that graced eye care offices in 2020 was the Infuse™ from Bausch+Lomb

INFUSE™ is the first SiHy daily replacement lens that has ever been released by B+L, and I’m really excited to have this lens in my arsenal for patients.

The cool thing B+L did while developing this technology was looking at contact lenses in a completely new way. Dr. Jill Saxon explains the origins of this new technology as an idea to change how we think of contact lenses and how they can be improved. B+L started with the end in mind, and the goal of maintaining homeostasis of the tear film. We all know from DEWS II that balance and homeostasis are critical to ocular surface health.

What is unique about this lens is the new ProBalance Technology™, which is an infusion of important osmoprotectants, electrolytes, and moisturizers into the lens material. The goal is improved maintenance of ocular surface homeostasis.

Unique features of this lens

  • ProBalance Technology™: Infusion of Osmoprotectants, Electrolytes, and moisturizers
  • 55% water throughout lens material
  • New SiHy material: kalifilcon A
  • Dk/t =134
  • UV Class II blocking

I’m hopeful that B+L will plan to release this lens in a toric and/or multifocal in the near future!

The last FDA-approved lens was a welcome sight for many ODs and patients: Coopervision’s MiSight® 1 day lens

The MiSight® is the first and only FDA-approved soft contact lens specifically for the purpose of reducing myopia. It is approved to be prescribed for children between 8-12 years old and can reduce myopia progression by up to 59%, as shown in Coopervision’s clinical study. This is a huge innovation for ODs that will help bring the topic of myopia reduction to the forefront of our patients' minds.

While myopia progression has been something ODs have been talking about with our patients a lot over the years, all of the options we have had were off-label and this made some patients and practitioners nervous to proceed with these treatments. Now, this is here to change the rhetoric and improve patient care.

Unique features of this lens

  • ActivControl™ - Two treatment zones and two correction zones. Allows for clear vision and control of axial elongation
  • 60% water throughout lens material
  • Material - Omafilcon A (same as Proclear 1-day)
  • Dk/t =28

New contact lenses to enhance comfort in 2021

While 2020 was not the year we hoped for, it did bring us more daily disposable innovations that any other year in the recent past. Many of these innovations are extremely important for the issues our patients are currently experiencing and will continue to experience as a result of a remote lifestyle. Prolonged computer work will lead to more ocular discomfort, as well I believe it will exacerbate the myopia epidemic that we are already in the midst of. Thankfully, we have some new tools to combat these problems and ensure that 2021 can be a much better year.

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About Erick Henderson, OD

Erick Henderson is a 2017 graduate of SCO and currently practices in Pittsburgh, PA. While at SCO, Erick served as the President of the AOSA and is currently very active with the Pennsylvania Optometric Association. His practice focus is specialty contact lenses and dry eye treatment. Outside of the office he is a lecturer/consultant for Alcon and part of the Educational Consultant team with Valley Contax. Dr. Henderson also serves on the board of the Lamu Center of Public Health, a non-profit operating a free preventative healthcare clinic in Lamu, Kenya.


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