Safilens launches Delivery Tyro

The first in a new family of contact lenses contains the amino acid tyrosine, aiming to correct vision as well as promoting the healthy development of the eye for children and young adults

Safilens Delivery
Contact lens manufacturer, Safilens, has introduced a new family of products – the Delivery range – aiming to both correct vision and aid in the wellbeing and physiology of the eye.

Developed in partnership with Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto ONLUS (Veneto Eye Bank Foundation), the Delivery range is said to take a biochemical approach to contact lenses, seeking to offer physiological benefits.

Safilens launched the new range with the Delivery Tyro contact lenses, a lens described as being suited for children and young adults to correct vision as well as promoting the normalisation of the growth of the eye.

Launched in January, the product is set to become available in the UK around the middle of February, and will be available through worldwide distributors later in the month.

The Delivery Tyro contact lenses contain the amino acid, tyrosine, which influences the presence of dopamine.

The company highlighted that research has suggested dopamine could play a role in the development of the eye, with Dr Diego Ponzin, medical director of the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation explaining: “By releasing tyrosine, there will be a higher concentration of dopamine in the blood or in the structures of the eye.”

The company suggests that this could particularly benefit wearers with myopia, with Safilens general manager, Daniele Bazzocchi telling OT: “Through the normalisation of the development of the eye, the contact lens could mitigate or limit the ametropia of the myopia caused by the excessive elongation of the eye globe.”

Tyrosine has a number of favourable qualities, the company suggested, including a very low level of toxicity, and the fact that it is already present in the blood and able to pass through natural barriers that can otherwise inhibit the penetration of drugs.

Through Safilens’ patented manufacturing process, the Delivery range of contact lenses can be enriched with natural solutions, described by the company as lachryceuticals, that can be delivered through the tear film and contribute to the wellbeing of the eye.

The company’s scientific communications and QA manager, Alessandra Perco, likened this to the use of dietary supplements to support health and wellbeing.

Safilens suggested that this approach makes it possible to “act on the physiology of the eye, reducing risk factors, and maintaining the eye in an optimal state of health.”

The Delivery Tyro lenses feature the polysaccharides hyaluronic acid and TSP for comfort, as well as to bind with tyrosine and ensure the solution is released in a controlled way. Delivery of the solution is prompted by body temperature, as well as blinking and eyelid pressure.

The company suggests that the Delivery Tyro disposable contact lenses offer a safe and hygienic approach for children and young people.

Commenting on the launch of the new product family, Safilens research and development Manager, Alessandro Filippo, compared it to “walking into a room where there were many things to read, study and examine.”

Speaking to OT, Mr Bazzocchi, confirmed that the Delivery family of contact lenses will continue to evolve, with other wearing modalities and addressing other needs. This could include the protection of the cornea, or protection from harmful light wavelengths.

Developing the Delivery range: behind the scenes

OT spoke to Mr Bazzocchi about the research and development behind Safilens’ new product family, and the launch of the Delivery Tyro contact lenses.

In 2005 Safilens patented the controlled release of substances from the contact lens, introducing a lens featuring hyaluronic acid. Since then, the company has been evaluating the compounds that could improve the wearing experience of contact lens users.

“We reached a point in our portfolio which was pretty satisfying in terms of performance of lens materials and designs,” Mr Bazzocchi said, so the next step for the company was to look at how the contact lenses could deliver benefits.

Mr Bazzocchi explained: “Besides correcting any ametropia and being as least invasive as possible, the contact lenses could represent a carrier for something else.”

The company collaborated with the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation to explore the substances that could benefit contact lens wearers, including tyrosine.

When Safilens encountered tyrosine, three years ago, Mr Bazzocchi said, “it was a very early stage of the scientific works on tyrosine and dopamine, and dopamine’s involvement in eye development.”

The company began evaluating the use of tyrosine with the Eye Bank Foundation, considering how the substance could be delivered in a controlled manner.

“There is a significant amount of literature existing, matching retinal dopamine and the stimulation of genes that are involved in the development of the eyes – in particular the elongation and the size of the eye,” Mr Bazzocchi said. “We needed to know that by introducing tyrosine through the tear film layer, retinal dopamine would be properly stimulated.”

Speaking to OT, Mr Bazzocchi suggested the company’s internal data showed an increase of retinal dopamine after the use of tyrosine-releasing contact lenses.

Over the next 12 to 24 months, the Eye Bank Foundation is going to carry out follow-up studies to gain further results from a panel of wearers.

For the year ahead, Safilens is already working through a pipeline to develop new products and introduce new elements to the Delivery family.

“Delivery Tyro is the firstborn of this family,” Mr Bazzocchi said, hinting that there will be more to come for the contact lens range.