ATLANTA – Alcon has expanded its Dailies AquaComfort Plus line of contact lenses with the addition of toric and multifocal options, the company announced here at SECO.
"Each of these products represent an unmet need in the market place," Rick Weisbarth, OD, FAAO, Alcon vice president of professional affairs, explained.
Alcon took the design from its Focus Dailies Toric lenses and added features from the Dailies AquaComfort Plus line, including blink-activated moisture, according to Weisbarth. The lenses include cylinder powers of -0.75 D, -1.25 D and -1.75 D and provide 10 axes at plus and minus 20 degrees of 90 degrees and 180 degrees in 10-degree increments. The design also features scribe marks at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and an OK indicator for patients that also doubles as a scribe mark at the 6 o'clock point, Weisbarth said.
The new multifocal lenses combine the design and parameters of the Air Optix Aqua lenses and the blink-activated AquaComfort Plus material, according to Weisbarth. The lenses will be available in three add powers and in distance powers from +6 D to -10 D in 0.25-D steps, he said.
Both lenses were launched here at SECO.
Alcon is also planning to launch Air Optix Colors this May. The line received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval earlier this year, according to a company press release.
In their presentation, Alcon presented numbers showing that more than $426 billion is spent on beauty products and services in the U.S. Currently, according to Alcon data, only 2.4 million wear contact lenses, while 19 million are extremely interested.
"We are basically taking the FreshLook color technology and marrying that together with a silicone hydrogel lens," Weisbarth said. "We've embedded the color into the matrix of the lens."
Current Air Optix users will not need to be refit should they wish to purchase one of the colored lenses, he said.
The lenses will be available in two color groups: subtle, which consists of pure hazel, blue, green, gray and brown, as well as vibrant, which consists of brilliant blue, gemstone green and sterling gray.
Alcon General Manager Jim Murphy shared statistics indicating that half of the U.S. population needs some kind of refractive correction by age 30, but only 22% of the population is wearing contact lenses.
With increasing age and the onset of presbyopia, the need for vision correction goes up to 90%, while contact lens wear peaks at 30 to 34 years old and tapers out over time, he said.
“The fact that patients drop out of contact lens wear with age is not due to lack of a good multifocal,” Murphy said. “We believe it’s due to the development of dry eye with age.”
Murphy said it is disappointing that the contact lens market has been relatively flat despite all of the innovation in the contact lens field.
“As a contact lens patient we want you to feel your best as long as you want to wear your contact lenses,” Murphy said. “We want you to see your best. People should expect optimal visual acuity. And we want you to look your best.” – by Chelsea Frajerman and Nancy Hemphill, ELS