[ASC-media] Media release: new contact lens lets the eye breathe

CRCA Media crcamedia at starclass.com.au
Wed Feb 16 08:42:37 EST 2005

Vision CRC Media Release


The front of the eye - the cornea - needs lots of oxygen to stay healthy.  Unfortunately, a contact lens acts as a barrier between the eye and the oxygen it needs.  

A new contact lens is answering this problem by transmitting high levels of oxygen to the eye.  O2OPTIX™ transmits up to 5 times more oxygen than the leading traditional soft daily wear contact lens - good news for those patients who wear their lenses for long hours.  Over 80% of Australia's contact lens wearers use older types of lenses with low oxygen transmissibility, so could benefit from the additional oxygen provided by O2OPTIX.

Launched in Australia on February 4 by CIBA Vision, O2OPTIX was developed by a collaboration of CIBA and Vision CRC scientists.  The new lens is the first product to be developed under the Vision CRC collaboration, and O2OPTIX is expected to fill a substantial need within the contact lens market.

When the cornea does not receive enough oxygen, the eye becomes stressed, resulting in symptoms such as discomfort and redness.  The majority of contact lens wearers report experiencing one or more of these symptoms.  In the long run, lack of oxygen may make the eye susceptible to more serious inflammation or infection. 

People who wear their contacts longer than the recommended wearing time are most at risk. CIBA market research shows that on average, 1-2 week contact lens wearers wear their lenses for 14 hours a day, with 84% reporting that they nap with their lenses on, which further increases the potential for eye stress. 

'Almost all contact lens wearers sometimes leave their lenses in for longer than they should, or even sleep in their lenses occasionally', says Associate Professor Deborah Sweeney, CEO of the Vision CRC.  'This new lens is designed to provide far higher levels of oxygen for these wearers.'

O2OPTIX lenses are made of a new patented silicone hydrogel material, lotrafilcon B.  The unique molecular structure of this material has two pathways that allow water to pass through the lens without reducing the material's ability to transmit oxygen to the eye.  This enables the lens to move freely on the eye and to keep plenty of oxygen flowing to the cornea.  The lens received FDA approval for six nights extended wear in October 2004.

The launch is the culmination of a two year research collaboration between CIBA Vision and Vision CRC.  During the launch CIBA Vision's Global Head of O2OPTIX R&D John McNally, warmly acknowledged the value of Vision CRC's efforts to the success of this project. 

'We are proud to be a part of this excellent collaboration, and very pleased to be able to present the first product of the new Vision CRC', says Professor Sweeney.

The Vision Cooperative Research Centre is the largest vision correction research centre in the world, bringing together 30 of the world's best in eyecare research, education and vision care delivery.  Following on from the work of the CRC for Eye Research and Technology, the Vision CRC is conducting programs in Myopia, Presbyopia, Vision Care Delivery, Business Growth, Science and Core Capabilities, and Academic and Professional Education.

16 February 2005
For further information ph 02 9385 7406/7409

More information about the ASC-media mailing list