New Acuvue Theravision allergy-treating contact lenses.
New Acuvue Theravision allergy-treating contact lenses. Click image to enlarge.

Most soft contact lenses aim to be minimally disruptive to the ocular surface to keep from altering the delicate balance of forces that maintain the tear film, but a new entrant launched today takes an active role for the first time: releasing an antihistamine to fight allergy. The lens, called Acuvue Theravision, contains 19mcg of the antihistamine ketotifen. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care announced its FDA approval this morning. It’s the first of several drug-eluting contact lenses expected in the coming years.

Patients who experience ocular itch due to allergic conjunctivitis can get relief as quickly as three minutes after insertion, J&J says. The effect has the potential to last up to 12 hours, according to the company, and the lens may be worn for longer than 12 hours for vision correction.  

It’s important not to use the lens on an eye that’s already red or if redness develops during wear, a press release notes. Patients should also be instructed to remove their lenses if they experience discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes or other concerns. The company also explicitly states that care products are not to be used with the lens.

Theravision is made of the familiar etafilcon A material common to the Acuvue product line and is intended for daily disposal. It’s available in powers of -12D to +6D. There is no toric component, so patients need to have no more than 1D of astigmatism.

J&J says that 40% of contact lens wearers suffer from itchy eyes due to ocular allergies, nearly 80% of those with ocular allergy find the experience frustrating and 50% of affected patients consider eye drops inconvenient to use and would prefer an alternative option.

For more information, visit