The FDA Has Approved The First-Ever Contact Lenses That Do More Than Just Help You See Better

Allergies can cause Itching, watering, and irritation in the eyes. To address this issue, a new kind of contact lens has been brought to the market. Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that the US Food and Drug Administration approved Acuvue Theravision with Ketotifen — the first lenses to deliver medication directly to the eye. 

Ketotifen is an antihistamine that’s usually used to treat itchy eyes that are caused by allergic conjunctivitis. Contact wearers may be more likely to get exposed to pollen or other irritants that can aggravate the eyes and lead to hours of discomfort. 

First Drug-Eluting Contact Lens Wins FDA Nod | MedPage Today

The new prescription contacts are meant to be used daily thrown away after one use. They combine the vision-correcting power of regular contact lenses with the itch relief of eye drops that can last up to 12 hours. They may not be suitable for some people with astigmatism and aren’t for people with red eye.

The contacts deliver 50% of the medication in the first 15 minutes after the user puts them in. Each lens will continuously deliver the medication over the next five hours, effective up to 12 hours (with vision correction lasting if you have them in). 

FDA Approves J&J's Medicated Eye Contacts for Allergies and Itchy Eyes,  Without the Need for Drops | Tech Times

In results from two clinical trials published in the journal Cornea, the medicated contacts gave a “statistically and clinically significant” difference in allergy symptoms in both trials.

Side effects can include eye irritation and eye pain, occurring in less than 2% of treated eyes.

The Acuvue lenses are the world’s first drug-eluting contact lenses on the market. Another kind of lens is under development that will be able to treat glaucoma.

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