Screen addicts, rejoice: J&J Vision to roll out contact lenses designed for digital device fatigue

With adults and children spending more time in front of phones, tablets and computer screens, contact lenses are racing to catch up with growing reports of eye fatigue caused by digital devices. And by the end of this year, Johnson & Johnson Vision plans to roll out a new set of daily contacts designed specifically for the task. 

The company announced its Acuvue Oasys Max 1-Day lenses have received regulatory green lights in the U.S., Canada and Europe and are slated to become available this fall.

Offered in spherical and multifocal versions, the Oasys Max contacts are described as “a premium range” of daily disposable lenses and are designed for all-day comfort when faced with long stretches of screen time.

According to J&J, adults are now spending an average of 13 hours per day in front of digital devices—a number that’s jumped 35% since 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to seek out their entertainment from within the home.

Meanwhile, younger contact lens wearers now spend about nine hours per day looking at a screen, where prolonged attention can cut down on blinking by as much as 60%, which ultimately disrupts the thin film of tears lubricating the eye and can lead to more dryness and discomfort. 

The company said 71% of surveyed eye care professionals have reported patient complaints of strain and fatigue due to increased screen time, and that 75% of patients said they wanted increased comfort in their contact lenses.

“Our lives have evolved significantly over the past few years creating increased demands on our eyes,” said Peter Menziuso, company group chairman of J&J Vision, which has sought to address a number of long-held complaints by contact lens wearers in recent years.

This past March, the FDA approved a J&J contact lens infused with an allergy-fighting antihistamine to help fight off eye itchiness caused by pollen, grass, pet dander or dust.

The company has estimated about 40% of contact wearers also suffer from conjunctivitis. And while deeply rubbing an eye while wearing a lens is obviously meant to be avoided, even the use of certain medicated eye drops can interfere with the contacts’ vision correction—forcing users to juggle between the two during allergy season.

Separately, J&J partnered with Japanese manufacturer Menicon last year on contacts designed to slow the progression of childhood nearsightedness, using multifocal lenses that aim to tamp down growth in the size of the eye, which is the main cause of myopia.