LipiFlow’s New Home, Contact Lens Health Week, & Hubble In Canada

Welcome to what’s trending in eye care, brought to you by IntroWellness.com and OptomEyesLife! I’m Dr. Amanda Rights, here to bring you the news!

Johnson & Johnson Vision has officially acquired TearScience, the company that makes LipiFlow.

Didn’t they just buy something else?

Yes, they completed the acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) back in February. AMO produced eye care products in three areas of patient care: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery (LASIK), and consumer eye health.

What’s LipiFlow?

LipiFlow is an FDA-cleared medical device used for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction, an underlying cause of dry eye disease. It effectively removes blockages from the meibomian glands (located in your eyelid) by gently heating and massaging your inner and outer eyelids. This allows the glands to produce the oils that make up the protective layer of your tear film.

LipiFlow® by TearScience
Source: TearScience

Eye doctors are remaining hopeful that this acquisition will increase public awareness, make treatments more affordable and accessible, and potentially be covered by insurance. Fingers crossed!

The solar eclipse might’ve overshadowed Contact Lens Health Week, but proper contact lens care is important all year long.

Contact Lens Health Week, sponsored by the CDC, is a public awareness campaign that promotes healthy contact lens wear and care practices to help reduce the risk of eye infections and complications associated with improper contact lens use.

According to a recent study of contact lens wearers, an astounding 85% (!!!) of adolescents reported that they don’t clean or wear their contacts properly. These risky habits can lead to severe eye infection and even blindness.

Let’s face it, if you’re having trouble getting your teen to brush their teeth or clean their room, they’re probably not cleaning their contacts either. Ask your local eye care professional about switching to daily disposable contact lenses.

Same goes for you, adults. Roughly 81% of young adults and 87.5% of adults over age 25 reported the same risky habits. Looks like we all need to sit down for a family meeting and review proper contact lens care. You can brush up on healthy habits here.

Speaking of astronomy and contact lenses, Hubble has landed in Canada.

What’s Hubble?

Hubble is a contact lens subscription service that was modeled after Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s Razors. They started in the U.S. and have now branched out to Canada. Hubble advertises their contacts at less than half the price of other name brand daily disposable contacts. So how can you go wrong?

Hubble daily contact lenses
Credit: hubblecontacts.com

Bursting the Hubble Bubble

I’ll admit, Hubble has some great marketing tactics. You’ve probably seen their ads and commercials, full of brightly colored imagery and the use of recyclable lens packaging. Now, before you click to order, here are three major concerns I have about Hubble:

1) Rebranding Old Technology

Hubble contact lenses are made from methafilcon A, a type of hydrogel material that was first invented over 20 years ago. Hubble has rebranded a discontinued contact lens and disguised it as a brand new daily disposable. Newer contact lenses are made with silicone hydrogel, which is a far superior technology to hydrogel. Why? Silicone hydrogel lenses offer enhanced breathability and decreased risk of eye infections associated with contact lens wear. This is especially important for patients with a history of dry eyes, corneal neovascularization, corneal ulcers, and other contact lens-related complications.

2) Manufacturing Issues

Hubble lenses are produced by St. Shine Optical Co., a private-label contact lens manufacturer based in Taiwan. In 2013, St. Shine received a warning letter from the FDA, citing several violations and failure to pass inspections during an investigation. As of a June 2017, the FDA cites the issues have been resolved, but emphasizes, “This letter does not relieve you or your firm from the responsibility of taking all necessary steps to assure sustained compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its implementing regulations or with other relevant legal authority. The Agency expects you and your firm to maintain compliance and will continue to monitor your state of compliance.”

3) Cost Claims

Hubble claims that their contact lens subscription service is more affordable than other contact lenses. Their monthly subscription costs $30 with an additional $3 shipping charge per order. While this might sound like a bargain, take into account that the cost of a product is influenced by the quality of materials. It is entirely possible to find newer, more reputable daily disposable contact lenses at a similar price point.

In short, Hubble is promoting an inferior quality contact lens rebranded from older technology at a perceived lower price. If you are a contact lens wearer who is interested in Hubble only because cost is a hindrance, ask your eye care professional to recommend a safer, higher quality contact lens at a comparable cost.

Remember: contact lenses are regulated by the FDA as medical devices that require a prescription to ensure their safety; they’re not razors!

That’s all for what’s trending in eye care! Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates coming soon.

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