DENVER – “We are interested in becoming the world leader in eye health,” Johnson & Johnson Vision’s head of contact lens research and development, David Turner, PhD, said at a company-sponsored press conference here at Optometry’s Meeting.
“We are focused on delivering outstanding products for all of the unmet needs,” he said. “We have great capabilities internally, but we look outside for the very best technology and science to bring into our next generation of products. We try to create products that are better and change the quality of our patients’ lives.”
Turner said J&J is committed to breakthrough technology, such as, “contact lenses that go above and beyond vision correction.”
He said the company is working on a contact lens that contains an anti-allergy agent, ketotifen fumarate, providing a consistent dose and itch relief for 12 hours.
“We are working with Janssen as part of J&J,” Turner said. “They are experts at drug; we are experts at taking the agent and putting it in an equally well-known and safe, daily disposable, etafilcon contact lens, the combination of two safe and well-known products. We’ll no longer have to tell people to stop wearing their lenses when their eyes get itchy or tell them to take their contact lenses out to put their drops in.
“We just submitted 2 months ago an application for approval in Japan,” he continued. “In the U.S. this goes through combination product review in the FDA. It will have drug review.”
J&J is also working in the smart contact lens space, he said, on a lens that will, “have electronics directly on board. We’ve had a substantial effort in this area over the last 10 or so years. We have over 150 patents in this space.
“These are self battery-powered lenses,” Turner continued. “They do not require an external power source or recharging.”
He said the company is also working on a contact lens for myopia control.
“The underlying science is not that well understood,” Turner said.
“Most myopia control designs are leveraging multifocal lenses for presbyopia,” he said. “The whole idea is to try to hold the image plane more forward in your eye. We think with normal vision correction or the normal eye the image plane is sitting behind the retina, and the eye senses this and tries to grow and elongates.
“By moving that image plane off the retina ... our designs go a step forward,” Turner continued. “We have made designs that would never work for presbyopia. They’re specifically designed to deal with optical progression. We use technology that’s designed differently. We are working with partners around the world and are hoping for something that has a different level of performance. We are making some incredibly big commitments in the area of myopia.”
J&J vision Care North America President Peter A. Menziuso discussed the company’s strong focus on advocacy.
“Johnson & Johnson Vision continues to play a very large role in partnership with the AOA with our new coalition [Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety] to make sure patients’ health and safety is paramount and doctors are at the center of prescribing based on the anatomy and physiology of the eye and what is best for patients,” he said.
At this meeting, J&J launched #WhyEyeAdvocate, “where your voice matters,” Menziuso said. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Disclosures: Menziuso and Turner are employed by Johnson & Johnson Vision.