“What contact lens do you wear?”
“I’m not sure …. one that’s made for monthly wear. Acuvue I think…”
While in the past, this conversation would have had a similar effect to what I imagine a microscopic drill tunneling it’s way through my browbone must feel like, the last few months have seen a remarkable improvement to the development of my premature forehead furrows. Finally, I have an argument free solution for all those happy Acuvue wearers that need a lens healthy enough to be approved for 1 month of wear to match their personal habits. And all of those unhappy monthly lens wearers that wish they could go back to their Acuvue lenses that you took them out of years ago have a product that they can wear like they want but that feels like they remember. No surprise that Acuvue Vita has been a huge success since hitting the market earlier this summer.
This week’s guest is Dr. Cristina Schnider, the Director of Global Professional Affairs at Johnson and Johnson Vision Care. She spoke with us about the success of the new Acuvue Vita lens and what makes it different than anything in their product pipeline. Johnson and Johnson Vision Care’s research showed significant numbers of monthly contact lens wearers can’t comfortably wear their lenses for the entire month, but very few complain at the exam for fear they will be fit into something significantly more expensive or taken out of contact lenses all together. While daily lens wearers are growing rapidly, monthly contact lens wearers still make up the majority of the contact lens wearing population, and their goal was to try to create the most comfortable monthly lens to date with Acuvue Vita.
What makes this lens different from others? Made from a brand new silicone hydrogel material called senofilcon C, Acuvue Vita contains 30% more polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) than the popular 2 week disposal Acuvue Oasys. How does a contact lens stay hydrated and comfortable all day long? That’s the job of PVP. This molecule binds to both the lipid and the aqueous layer of our tear film to help the contact lens incorporate into our normal tear film matrix. Many other monthly contact lenses are designed with coatings to block tear film lipids from adhering to the surface of the eye; Acuvue Vita doesn’t block lipids, but instead integrates the lipid tear film layer into the lens itself so that it doesn’t build up on the surface. The concept is that by integrating with your tear film, there will be less friction as your eyelid blinks over top of the contact lens throughout the day, better vision as your contact lens stays clean of debris and build-up, and more comfortable because the lens feels less like something in your eye and more like a layer of your own natural tear film.
Dr. Schnider also talked the success of Acuvue 1-Day Moist Multifocal, and why Acuvue 1 Day Moist Define has struggled in some American markets (despite being hugely popular in Asia). She has a straight-facts conversation with us about Acuvue 2 – still one of the most popular lenses in the entire American marketplace, and clears up the overnight wear approval you see listed in Tyler’s Quarterly (yes, you read that right).
And while some doctors have had issue with Johnson and Johnson Vision Care over unilateral pricing policy and even over their entering the monthly lens marketplace, they continue to be one of the biggest supporters of protecting the integrity of contact lens prescriptions and our role as primary eye care providers. They are actively working to pass The Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act that will legislate that contact lens vendors must fill contact lens prescriptions exactly as the doctor writes, without substitutions. Their user-friendly advocacy website makes it very easy to email your congress representative to show your support of the bill, so take a few minutes and let your voice be heard!