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KPLC News Interview: New Contact Lens Nearly 100% Water – 6/28/2013

The first-of-its-kind contact lens has a surface of nearly 100 percent water, transforming the way it feels on the eye. Find out what is behind the lens makeover and whose eyes will benefit the most.

All day, Kristy Mouton works in front of a computer – seeing things clearly only with the help of prescription contact lenses – something she has worn for almost twenty years. “I just really couldn’t see the TV,” she said, “when I was younger, I was having to sit up close at school, not being able to see the board.”

Like other contact lens wearers, Mouton felt the nagging dryness that comes after a few short hours. “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 Melvin Gehrig at The Eye Clinic in Lake Charles says contact lenses have come a long way since their invention in the 1950s.

The big changes happened in the late 1970s, 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,” said Dr. Gehrig.

That breathable water gradient lens mimics the water of the cornea, making it comfortable and wearable all day. “It’s just smooth, like you really don’t feel them at all,” said Mouton.

That comfort does come with a price tag. A one month supply of these lenses costs about $60 for both eyes, compared to $20 a month for standard daily contact lenses. “It is a little more, but it’s very well worth the money,” said Mouton.

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

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