Some may find it surprising, but roughly half of patients who need vision correction have astigmatism.2 Although astigmatism is a relatively common condition, there are still many who do not understand the condition and are unaware of all the vision correction options available.
Alcon has recently introduced two new daily contact lenses for astigmatic patients: DAILIES TOTAL1® for Astigmatism and PRECISION1® for Astigmatism. Now, with TOTAL30® for Astigmatism coming soon, Alcon is bringing three new specialty contact lenses to patients struggling to find a lens that’s right for them.
We sat down with Andy Pawson, President & GM for Alcon’s Global Vision Care Franchise, to understand the rationale behind this latest wave of new contact lens innovation.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Andy. To begin, what exactly is astigmatism?
Andy: Astigmatism is a common vision condition when the front of the eye, the cornea, is irregularly shaped. Some say it’s shaped like a football – an oblong, American football and not the kind of ball I played growing up in Yorkshire, England. This irregular shape can cause images to blur or stretch out. For many people, astigmatism is hereditary and present from birth. Fortunately, there are treatment options, like contact lenses, that can be prescribed to patients to improve their vision.
Are contact lenses commonly prescribed for astigmatic patients?
Andy: Toric contact lenses, which correct for astigmatism, represent an estimated 23% of the $9 billion global contact lens market.1 While that is a sizeable market to be sure, it could be much larger when you consider that over 40% of patients are astigmatic.2 When you look at it this way, only a fraction of those with astigmatism are wearing contact lenses.3 This is a big reason we felt that innovation was essential to attract and retain contact lens wearers.
Why don’t more astigmatic patients wear contact lenses?
Andy: I think it is saying that contact lens wearers with astigmatism are twice as likely to stop wearing them or dropout.5 These patients experience dryness and discomfort at higher rates than contact lens wearers without astigmatism. Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point where toric lenses have a reputation among Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) for not delivering the performance astigmatic wearers need. Our research and development (R&D) team took that challenge head-on, bringing meaningful innovation to the toric contact lens market with DAILIES TOTAL1 for Astigmatism, PRECISION1 for Astigmatism and the upcoming launch of TOTAL30 for Astigmatism.
In fact, in a recent eye exam, I learned that I have astigmatism in both eyes! Naturally, I jumped at the chance to try DAILIES TOTAL1 for Astigmatism, and the experience has been tremendous. So, I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is a truly one-of-a-kind lens.
Since astigmatic patients are especially at risk for contact lens dropout,5 are there ways to prevent this?
Andy: I’m a big believer that if patients understood all the options that are available to them, they may be less likely to stop wearing lenses. For example, DAILIES TOTAL1 for Astigmatism is designed for patients who want the ultimate experience in lens comfort. It is the first and only Water Gradient contact lens for patients with astigmatism. In other cases, especially for new lens wearers or those looking for a mainstream price point, PRECISION1 for Astigmatism may be the excellent option.
How have these new toric lenses been received so far?
Andy: DAILIES TOTAL1 for Astigmatism has been highly anticipated for years, and we’re seeing strong demand since adding it to the TOTAL family of lenses. Since its launch, PRECISION1 was one of the fastest growing contact lens brands in the U.S., and this momentum continued with the launch of PRECISION1 for Astigmatism. We’re excited to offer both premium, TOTAL, and mainstream, PRECISION, lens options for astigmatic patients.
Any advice for astigmatic patients considering toric contact lenses?
Andy: Talk with your ECP specifically about the latest toric lens options. Keep in mind that toric contact lenses provide better visual acuity to astigmatic patients than spherical lenses, even for low and moderate astigmatics.4-6 Contact lens innovation has come a long way in recent years. Don’t miss your chance to see brilliantly.
Please refer to product label for complete wear, care, and safety information.
*Based on lens movement, centration and rotation at initial fitting.
Product launch dates refer to first global launch. Not all products are available in all markets. Please talk to Alcon representative to request important product information for currently marketed US products or visit alcon.com for product information.
- 2021 Alcon Estimates and independent market research.
- Luensmann D, Schaeffer JL, Rumney NJ, Stanberry A, Walsh K, Jones L. Spectacle prescriptions review to determine prevalence of ametropia and coverage of frequent replacement soft toric contact lenses. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2018 Oct;41(5):412-420.
- Multi Sponsor Surveys Inc. The 2014 Gallup target market report on the market for toric contact lenses.
- Vitale S, Ellwein L, Cotch MF, Ferris FL, Sperduto R. Prevalence of refractive error in the United States, 1999-2004. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Amanyug;126(8):1111-1119.
- Multi-sponsor Surveys Inc. The 2014 Gallup target market report on the market for toric contact lenses.
- Richdale K, Berntsen DA, Mack CJ, Merchea MM, Barr JT. Visual acuity with spherical and toric soft contact lenses in low-to-moderate astigmatic eyes. Optom Vis Sci. 2007;84;969-975