A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a series of classes about the new contact lens Dailies Total 1. I had written about this when we first tried the lens. Since then I have used it with many patients and believe it to be an extremely comfortable lens. However, I learned a great deal more about the science of the lenses.
I enjoyed the fact that the speaker were not just optometrists, but visual scientists and physicians who could answer questions about the behavior of the lenses and the affects on visual comfort.
Here are a few things that I learned, some of which are a bit technical:
- Alcon, the company that makes Dailies Total 1, has put 10 years of research and development into this lens. All of this research has been as a single use lens. It is not indicated for multiple days, nor is it approved for overnight wear. We simply do not know what happens when you use contact lens solution or if they are safe to sleep in, so it is not recommended.
- This lens mimics the human eye. We don't usually feel our eyelids when we blink because the tears form a "water gradient" cushion. Dailies Total 1 creates a similar tear cushion to allow for lenses that many people simply can't feel.
- Many people do feel that their eyes feel better with the lenses in than out. There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that the coefficient of friction is very low - similar to an ice cube sliding on a saucer.
- While the inside of the lens is a very breathable contact lens, the outside approaches pure water. There has never been a contact lens like this before and for this reason it is available in a small prescription range. Right now it is only available for nearsighted people (myopes). Hopefully soon, it will be available for astigmatism, farsightedness, and people who need multifocal contact lenses.
- People do need to change how they take out the lenses. Because these are designed to be super low-friction lenses, they will be very slippery with wet fingers. It is extremely important to dry your fingers completely when you take them out.
I do know that personally, Dailies Total 1 is the most comfortable lens I have ever worn. I have dry eyes and cannot usually tolerate lenses for more than 3 or 4 hours, but with this lens, I can go 8 to 10 hours, which is pretty cool.