With COVID-19 impacting almost every aspect of how we’ve gone about practicing optometry in 2020 and 2021, including the release of new products and fewer rep visits, it has been harder than ever to keep up with new updates. The pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped companies from innovating though. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a roundup of the newest changes, developments, and offerings in soft contact lenses for summer 2021.
In early 2020, Alcon released their Precision1 SiHy daily disposable lens, which quickly became the fastest-growing daily disposable lens even though it was released right before the pandemic hit. This lens was designed to have high comfort in mind, using water gradient technology similar to their Dailies Total1.
Their new technology features Smartsurface, allowing for a 51% SiHy core surrounded by a highly wettable hydrogel polymer layer with >80% water content at the surface. A bonus is they’re generally much easier to handle than the Dailies Total1 and come at a much easier-to-swallow price point for patients.
With their newest addition to this family, just recently released early 2021, this lens material expands into toric lenses with the Precision1 for Astigmatism. These are now available in trial sets or through your distributor, current parameters are plano through -6.00 D sphere, -0.75, -1.25, and -1.75 cyl in axes 90° and 180° ± 20° in 10° steps.
Coming soon: Not to be confused with the Whole 30 diet, a new monthly lens called Total30 will also have water gradient technology similar to Dailies Total1, with additional coatings designed to keep wear comfortable over the entire 30-day wearing period.
This will be one of the first, new reusable lenses released by any company in almost a decade, as most recent developments have gone into the daily disposable space. This lens is likely to launch at the end of this year or early 2022.
Bausch and Lomb
Newest from B&L has been the Infuse daily disposable, which launched mid-2020 at the height of the pandemic. It is the only SiHy daily disposable with material infused with ProBalance Technology to help maintain ocular surface homeostasis and was designed specifically with dry eye patients in mind. It is made out of kalifilcon A, has a dk of 107, and is currently available in sphere only from +6.00 to -12.00 D (0.5 steps only above -6.00).
Bausch and Lomb has given us even better options for our patients with astigmatism and presbyopia by offering additional cylinder powers of -2.25 and -2.75. Standard offerings in the monthly Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism are previously only available in axes 10º, 20º, 70º, 80º, 90º, 100º, 110º, 160º, 170º, 180º but are now available from 10° to 180° in 10° steps.
In addition, we finally have a daily disposable toric that goes up to -2.75 cyl now!
They have added -2.75 cyl in their Biotrue One Day for Astigmatism as a standard option, currently available in 0.50 D steps from plano to -6.00 sphere in axes 10°, 20°, 90°, 160°, 170°, and 180°.
Coming soon: While there haven’t been any specifics released yet, I hear a new contact lens solution from Bausch and Lomb is on its way soon.
The biggest news from Coopervision in the last year has been the release of the first FDA-approved soft lens made just for myopia control: the MiSight daily disposable lens. A paper presented at Academy in 2020 showed that 23% of eyes in their clinical trial had no progression in myopia after six years of use. MiSight 1 day has been approved for children between ages 8 to 12, with prescriptions from -0.75 D to -4.00 D and less than or equal to -0.75 D astigmatism.
In May, Coopervision also expanded the sphere range of its Biofinity toric XR to include powers from -20.00 to +20.00 (previously available in ±10.50), bringing their total number of available prescriptions to almost 33,000! This lens was already our favorite contact lens for 2021 for those with higher prescriptions and can now accommodate even more patients. They have also added around-the-clock axes and 0.25 increments in their plus powers of the MyDay Toric daily disposable lens.
Acknowledging the importance of sustainability, Coopervision has also made their clariti 1 day disposable lens the first net neutral plastic contact lens in the US. Through a partnership with PlasticBank, for every box of clariti 1 day sold in the US, Coopervision will help fund an equivalent weight of plastic to be collected, processed, and reused.
In just the first three months of the program, the equivalent of over 5.5 million plastic bottles was removed from the environment. This is an excellent option in addition to Bausch and Lomb’s “One by One” contact and packaging recycling program to offer our environmentally conscious patients.
Coming soon: This fall, look for a new daily multifocal with a three add power design: the MyDay Multifocal!
In spring 2021, Johnson & Johnson released their Acuvue Oasys Multifocal with Pupil Optimized Design, a complete overhaul from their previous biweekly multifocal option the Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia, now incorporating the multifocal design used in their Acuvue 1-day moist multifocal into their popular biweekly Acuvue Oasys material. They’ve also created a super-easy-to-use multifocal fitting calculator to help speed up the fitting process for busy practitioners.
Coming soon: In March, they received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and, in April, from Health Canada for Acuvue Theravision with Ketotifen.
This is the first lens of its kind to contain Ketotifen, an H1 histamine receptor antagonist in the contact lens. Ketotifen is indicated to prevent ocular itching related to ocular allergies. This will be a spherical daily disposable lens. Initial trials showed the prevention of itch lasted up to 12 hours, and there was no compromise in quality of vision.
While not a soft contact lens, Acuvue also announced in May that it had received FDA approval for Acuvue Abiliti Overnight Therapeutic Lenses. This lens is an overnight orthokeratology lens designed for myopia control. Early clinical studies showed an average reduction in axial length elongation by 0.28 mm over 2 years. Spherical and astigmatism options will be available.
They also announced that through Sight for Kids, a program created through a partnership with Lions Clubs International Foundation, each annual purchase of Abiliti will provide a free comprehensive eye exam for a child in need. This lens is set to release by the end of 2021.
Keeping an eye on future releases
It has been an exciting year for contact lens developments. With multiple new options for myopia control, expanded parameters in many lenses, and really exciting new frontiers such as drug-delivering contact lenses. We have so many new innovations to look forward to in the near future. Stay tuned!
Special thanks to my local reps Jordan Lewis, Alcon; Shauna Nolan, Bausch and Lomb, Chris Carlucci, Coopervision; and Juanita Fabre, Johnson & Johnson Vision Acuvue for their assistance with this article.