New contact lens has surface that is nearly 100 percent water

Published On: Jul 05 2013 12:45:47 PM EDT

Kristy Mouton works in front of a computer all day, seeing things clearly only with the help of prescription contact lenses – something she’s worn for almost 20 years.

"Just really couldn't see the TV, having to sit up close at school, not being able to see the board,” she said.

Like other contact lens wearers, Mouton felt the nagging dryness that comes just after a few short hours of wearing her lenses.

"I've had a lot of problems with the dryness, not really irritation, but by the midday getting dryness in the eyes and keep having to use rewetting drops,” she said.

Optometrist Dr. Melvin Gehrig said contact lenses have come a long way since their invention in the 1950s.

The big changes happened in the late 70s, going from hard material to soft.

Now, the newest revolution is a two-part lens called a “Total 1.”

"The inside lens is made out of silicone, which creates the oxygen permeability that we want in a contact today and the outside of the lens is a type of hydrogel that when it touches the eye you're almost touching 100 percent water,” Gehrig said.

The breathable water-gradient lens mimics the water of the cornea, making it comfortable to wear all day.

"It's just smooth, like you really don't feel them at all,” Mouton said.

But the comfort does come with a price tag.

A one month supply of these lenses costs about $60 for both eyes, compared to a third of that price, about $20 a month for standard daily contact lenses.

"It is a little more, but it's very well worth the money,” Mouton said.

The Total 1 daily lens is only crafted for near-sighted people. But developers are working on expanding them to those with astigmatism, bifocals and other vision problems.


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