Since they were first developed and introduced by the Johnson & Johnson company in 1987, Acuvue contact lenses have been one of the most popular brands of disposable contact lenses in the United States. Throughout the past several decades, a number of new Acuvue lens products have been developed; these lenses address eyewear concerns ranging from ultraviolet protection to ocular allergies involving common contact lens solutions and airborne pollen.
According to the Vistakon Johnson & Johnson Vision Care main website, the root of what is now the Acuvue line of contact lenses lies in the 1950s Frontier Contact Lens Co. based in Buffalo, New York. The company was headed by Seymour Marco, an optometrist who developed etafilcon A, a hydrogel substance that allowed the company to begin producing soft contact lenses. In the 1908s, Marco sold the company to Johnson & Johnson, which changed its name to Vistakon and produced the first marketable extended-wear disposable contact lenses. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Vistakon developed 10 types of disposable lenses.
The Acuvue website lists five main brand families of Acuvue lenses: the Acuvue, the Acuvue Oasys, the 1-Day Acuvue, the Acuvue Advance and the Acuvue 2. Although each Acuvue lens offers ultraviolet light eye protection as well as markers to make the contacts easier to put in and light tinting to make dropped contacts easier to see, each brand family offers a different range of features and lengths of time that the lenses can be worn. For instance, the Acuvue Oasys line includes lens types for individuals who are nearsighted or farsighted, astigmatic or presbyopic; all of these types can be worn continuously all day and overnight for up to six days before requiring replacement. By contrast, the 1-Day Acuvue line includes lenses that can be worn only one day.
Hydraclear technology, Lacreon technology and Stereo Precision technology are three contact lens features exclusive to Acuvue lenses. The lenses with Hydraclear technology combine a wetting agent with the silicone hydrogel of the lens, keeping the contacts moist and comfortable even after extended wear. Lacreon Technology lenses, like the Hydraclear lenses, have the wetting agent embedded within the lens, yet are designed to last only one day. According to the Acuvue website, they are good choices for individuals with ocular sensitivities and for frequent travelers since they do not require any cleaning solutions. Stereo Precision Technology lenses are developed specifically for individuals with presbyopia—the inability to see close up over time—and provide a multi-focal design that allows the wearer to see both near and far.
According to Mastereyeassociates.com, the Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear technology are the most widely prescribed contact lenses available. They are recommended because they provide ample ultraviolet light protection, prevent the problems with dry eyes and ocular allergies that many contact lens wearers suffer from when wearing contacts for longer periods of time and, because they are made of a porous silicone hydrogel, help keep the eyes healthy by allowing sufficient oxygen to pass through to the cornea.
The main disadvantage of Acuvue contacts is the cost involved with disposable lenses. For people who wear contacts daily, replacing Acuvue lenses every few weeks can become expensive. Acuvue contacts are better suited for those who wear contacts periodically, are traveling or have significant problems with buildup on contacts they wear for longer than several weeks.