By Amy Hellem
Soft lens wearers have long enjoyed the benefits of lens coatings, with manufacturers maintaining that the treatments enhance comfort and wettability. However, when fitting specialty lenses, the treatment you most often hear about is plasma, which really is not a lens coating at all.1
Though plasma has several benefits, lens makers have long sought a lubricious coating that could further compliment their specialty designs.
In August, SynergEyes received FDA clearance to use a breakthrough polymer coating on Duette and Duette Progressive lenses. After several months reviewing patient feedback during a limited launch, the treatment—known as Tangible Hydra-PEG—is now available to Duette fitters throughout the United States, and will soon be available internationally as well.
What Is Tangible Hydra-PEG?
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been used in ocular lubricants for decades and has been reported by several sources to improve lens surface wettability, which improves tear breakup time, increases lubricity and reduces protein and lipid deposition.2-4
Tangible Hydra-PEG (developed by Tangible Science, LLC) is a 90% water PEG-based polymer mixture that is covalently (permanently) bonded to the surface of the contact lens, effectively creating a wetting surface on the underlying lens material and separating it from the ocular surface and tear film.5 The optically-clear coating encapsulates the core contact lens with a mucin-like hydrophilic shell. 5
Tangible Hydra-PEG versus Plasma Treatment
If you’ve been fitting specialty lenses for a while, you are likely familiar with the popular plasma treatment process. Plasma treatment is a special cleaning method designed to remove manufacturing contaminants and residues from lens surfaces. 1
It is achieved by placing lenses in an oxygen-filled chamber where they are subjected to high-frequency radio waves. The result is the creation of plasma—a highly excited, ionized gas. Next, vacuum is applied, leaving an extremely clean lens surface. 1
Tangible Hydra-PEG works differently than plasma treatment. Whereas plasma modifies existing lens material, the Tangible Hydra-PEG coating results in a distinct bulk layer of polymers that encapsulate the lens. When lenses are soaked in Tangible Hydra-PEG, the polymers permanently bond to the lens, creating a surface with optimal wettability, lubricity, tear film stability and resistance to deposits.
There are no contraindications for use of Tangible Hydra-PEG. 5 Extensive research by the developers of the coating, Tangible Science, and others indicate that patients who currently experience ocular dryness or discomfort associated with contact lens wear, and moderate to heavy depositors, can benefit from the technology. 6-8
Practitioners and patients should be aware that the Tangible Hydra-PEG surface will result in a more “slippery” lens and may require a brief adjustment period for handling, inserting and removing the lens. 5 However, with a little practice and very dry fingers, patients should adjust fairly quickly to their new lenses.
During the pre-launch program, 141 patients were fit with Duette and Duette Progressive with Tangible Hydra-PEG and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with patients and doctors citing great optics and all-day comfort. 9
Up to half of contact lens wearers experience contact lens discomfort with some frequency or magnitude. 10 Indeed, contact lens discomfort is the primary reason for contact lens dropout. 11
Tangible Hydra-PEG is a promising new coating technology that should serve to significantly improve the custom contact lens experience. 5 Tangible Science’s benchtop tests and early clinical studies point to improvements in wettability, lubricity, deposit resistance, tear film quality, subjective comfort and overall patient preference. 5
Amy Hellem is an independent writer and researcher who specializes in ophthalmology and optometry. Previously, she served as editor-in-chief of Review of Optometry and Review of Cornea & Contact Lenses and directed the custom publishing division for Review of Ophthalmology.
- Pence NA. Plasma Treatment Facts: No sugar coating. Contact Lens Spectrum, May 2008.
- Ousler GW, Michaelson C, Christensen MT. An evaluation of tear film breakup time extension and ocular protection index scores among three marketed lubricant eye drops. Cornea 2007;26(8):949-952.
- Fonn D. The clinical relevance of contact lens lubricity. Contact Lens Spectrum 2013;28(13)25−27.
- Jones L, Brennan NA, Gonzalez-Meijome J, Lally J, Maldonado-Codina C, Schmidt TA, Subbaraman L, Young G, Nichols JJ. The TFOS international workshop on contact lens discomfort: report of the contact lens materials, design, and care subcommittee. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(11) TFOS37−70).
- Sindt CW. Tangible Hydra-PEG: A novel custom contact lens coating technology designed to improve patient comfort and satisfaction. Whitepaper. 2016. Available at http://www.tangiblescience.com/tangible-hydra-peg-white-paper-down.
- Caroline PJ, Andre M. Cloudy vision with sclerals. Contact Lens Spectrum. Vol 27; pg. 56. June 2012.
- Miller WL. Scleral contact lens fog. Contact Lens Spectrum. Vol. 28; pg 52. Sept 2013.
- Rosenthal P, Croteau A. Fluid-ventilated, gas-permeable scleral contact lens is an effective option for managing severe ocular surface disease and many corneal disorders that would otherwise require penetrating keratoplasty. Eye & Contact Lens. 31(3):130−34. 2005.
- Data on file.
- Nichols JJ, Willcox MD, Bron AJ, Belmonte C, Ciolino JB, Craig JP, Dogru M, Foulks GN, Jones L, Nelson JD, Nichols KK, Purslow C, Schaumberg DA,Stapleton F, Sullivan DA; members of The TFOS international workshop on contact lens discomfort. The TFOS international workshop on contact lens discomfort: executive summary. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Oct 18;54(11):TFOS7−TFOS13.
- Dumbleton K, Woods CA, Jones LW, Fonn D. The impact of contemporary contact lenses on contact lens discontinuation. Eye Contact Lens 2013;39:93-9.