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This Contact Lens Could Ward Off Eye Itch

They could help allergy sufferers while also correcting vision.

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Experimental contact lenses that release an antihistamine have shown promise in two clinical studies, with the ability to both correct vision and reduce eye itch due to allergies, Johnson & Johnson Vision announced.

“These Phase 3 study results are important on multiple fronts. Contact lens wearers who historically suffer from itchy, allergy eyes had meaningful reductions in itching across two randomized, well-controlled studies,” said Brian Pall, director of clinical science for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

“There was both a clinically and statistically significant reduction in ocular itching that occurred 15 minutes after lens insertion and lasted for the 12-hour study evaluation period. This marks the first time that contact lens technology has shown potential in a large-scale study to address itch stemming from ocular allergies.”

The antihistamine-releasing contact lenses worn in the studies are daily disposable lenses containing ketotifen, a drug that inhibits certain substances in the body that are known to cause allergic reactions and inflammation.

The results were published in the journal Cornea.

According to the publication, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population experience ocular allergy, or itchy eyes, when exposed to allergens such as tree or grass pollen, pet dander or dust.

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“At Johnson & Johnson Vision, we are committed to pioneering new technologies that both correct people’s vision and also have potential to address other lifestyle or medical needs they may have,” said Xiao-Yu Song, global head of research and development for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

“It is encouraging to see this large-scale assessment that indicates the potential of a contact lens-based drug delivery system which, in the future, could represent an entirely new category of contact lenses. We will continue development of this contact lens technology and are committed to making regulatory submissions for this antihistamine-releasing contact lens as we move forward.”

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