The History of Johnson & Johnson

If you are someone that is very much dependent on your contact lenses for clearer vision, you may have wondered how these tiny medical devices came to be. Or perhaps, who is the biggest manufacturer of contact lenses?

johnson-johnsonTo answer your question, Johnson & Johnson Company is actually the world’s largest contact lens manufacturer. The company was founded in 1886, and presently employs 120,000 workers within several medical divisions. The corporate headquarters of Johnson & Johnson is located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Under their umbrella, the corporation includes 250 subsidiary companies with operations in over 57 countries and products sold in over 175 worldwide.

The company’s major franchises in the Pharmaceutical industry include Neuroscience, Immunology, Oncology and Infectious Disease. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved Sirturo, a Johnson & Johnson tuberculosis drug that is the first modern medicine to combat tuberculosis in over 40 years. Johnson & Johnson’s over-the-counter brands include various household medications and first aid brands such as Band-Aid, Neutrogena, Tylenol and Acuvue Contact Lenses.

Humble Beginnings

Acuvue contact lenses first began as The Frontier Contact Lens Company in the 1950’s. Optometrist Seymour Marco purchased the company and in the 1970’s invented a new material that was softer on the eye, known as etafilcon A. The marvel of the first generation soft contact lens was that it was manufactured by hand; and the lathing, polishing and inspecting of the contact lenses was so labor intensive, the product did not have the opportunity to gain proper recognition. In 1981, Marco sold the Frontier Company to Johnson & Johnson Inc.

The Rise of Acuvue and Soft Contacts

A division of Johnson & Johnson called Vistakon tackled the slow production process and improved it. As a result, the Acuvue brand as it is known today entered the market in 1986.  The contacts were made of a new material that was more comfortable to wear and also healthier for the eye. New generations of silicone hydrogel contact lenses and disposable contacts provided a fresh lens that reduced irritation, allowing the eye more access to oxygen. Originally designed for extended seven-day wear, Acuvue lenses were further improved upon, and thus dailies were born. Today, Acuvue offers a line of products that range from one-day wear to two-week lenses, provided by Acuvue 2 and Oasys.

Johnson & Johnson’s Vistakon Division has grown to be the largest contact lens producer worldwide. The first disposable contact lens created in the world, Acuvue now comes in many prescription strengths and varieties. With the exception of one location in Limerick, Ireland, all Vistakon manufacturing plants operate in the United States. Acuvue contacts are then shipped and sold in more than 70 countries worldwide.

All Acuvue Contact Brands by Johnson & Johnson

  • 0002348_250Acuvue
  • Acuvue 2
  • Acuvue Advance- 2 week disposable
  • Acuvue Oasys-2 week disposable
  •  1-Day Acuvue
  • Acuvue 2 Colors
  • Acuvue 2 Colors Opaque
  • Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism
  • Acuvue Toric contacts
  • Acuvue Bifocal lenses

Johnson & Johnson Environmental Efforts:

Over the years Johnson & Johnson has become equally as conscious about the environment as they are about medical advancements. According to Newsweek, it was listed as one of the top three Green Friendly Corporations.  The American business has been praised for its reductions in water and energy use. The packaging practices have transformed, switching from plastic bottles to non-polycarbonate containers. Johnson & Johnson also continues to support the Climate Northwest Initiative and the EPA National Environmental Performance Track programs, and currently operates the largest solar power generator in Pennsylvania.

Why the Flow of Oxygen is Important to Eye Health

As two of our most precious biological commodities, our eyes require constant upkeep to ensure long-lasting, optimal performance. While a nutritious diet and proper maintenance will certainly help warrant a strong condition, there are additional precautionary measures to also keep in mind. One in particular is allowing them to breathe! Making sure our eyes receive a consistent flow of oxygen is crucial to their overall health. As you can imagine, wearing contact lenses everyday makes the process of absorbing oxygen somewhat difficult. However, understanding why oxygen is important to eye health should motivate contact wearers to lift the blanket of lenses regularly and allow air to flow through.

Continue reading “Why the Flow of Oxygen is Important to Eye Health”

Contacts and Astigmatism

3239440454_59846ebb6dHow many times have we heard individuals bemoan being forced to wear glasses? One of the most common reasons you’ll undoubted hear is “I can’t wear contacts because I have astigmatism.” Well, truth be told, the idea that you can’t wear lenses because of this condition is a myth that far too many people buy into.

Astigmatism is a vision condition that causes vision to blur due to an irregularly shaped cornea, lens of the eye, or even the cover of the eye.  Astigmatism is a very common disorder. In fact, most people have some form of astigmatism (however slight it may be); the good news is that astigmatism can now be fully corrected with contact lenses!

To find which contact lenses are optimal for you it is always best to consult with your eye care professional, so they can give advice tailored to you; but it is good to be informed of the options.  An eye doctor is the only person who will be able to tell how much astigmatism you have—which is critical in deciding which specific description is for you. For more information on the different contact lens styles, check out our post How to choose the right contact lenses for your lifestyle. There are a whole slew of contact lens brands and variations to choose from—and some are specifically designed for astigmatism.  

6055323149_81ed91868fThe first step in addressing astigmatism is to find out to what degree you are affected; generally astigmatism is measured in diopters.  If a doctor determines that there is not much astigmatism, you may not need special contacts and can wear regular contacts. If a doctor determines that you need special contacts for astigmatism, there are fewer lens options designed for significant amounts of astigmatism (unfortunately, there is no standard definition of “significant amount of astigmatism” it is a doctor’s judgment call.)

         Astigmatism of .75 diopters is about the lowest that any toric lens is designed to correct. 

o   A toric lens is a soft contact lens specifically designed to compensate for the irregularities of astigmatism; as well as correct any vision problems such as nearsightedness and far sightedness. If you have less than .75 diopters of astigmatism, say .6 diopters, a toric lens might not provide additional benefit over a normal soft contact lens.       

o   Toric lenses are generally more expensive and may feel a bit different than normal lenses.  The doctor should be able to advise if the vision correction benefits would be equal between normal and toric lenses.  It may be worth trying samples of each for a week to see which works better for you.

0001906_250If a doctor determines that toric lenses are the right lenses for you…what brand should you go with? Well, most newer designs work very well—so brand names should not make much difference.  However, some brands make their lenses in a wider range of options. The following contact lenses are some of the most popular lenses for astigmatism:

         Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism

o   Made by Johnson and Johnson.  These contacts are designed to keep moist while wearing (prevent dry eyes), have good breathability, and provide a good fit.  These contacts are replaced every 2 weeks if worn daily and removed/cleaned at night; or can be worn 6 days in a row and then replaced.

         Air Optix for Astigmatism

o   Made by Cibavision.  These contacts are designed for maximum oxygen permeability, consistent fit, and comfort.  These are monthly disposable lenses that are meant to be removed and cleaned with solution each night.

         Biofinity Toric

o   Made by Coopervision.  These contacts are designed for all day comfort by allowing large amounts of oxygen to the eye, and reducing dry eyes with a special Aquaform Technology.  These contacts can be worn 7 days straight and replaced, or as daily wear lenses removed/cleaned each night and replaced after a month.

If you have astigmatism, know that you have options—including many contact lens options!  The days of glasses being your only form of vision correction are over.  With this article you should be able to have an informed discussion with your eye care professional and find the best pair of contacts for you.  Always remember, you can try out as many sample pair of contact lenses as you want—the eye doctor should understand and want to find the most comfortable and well performing lenses for you.  Let us know about your experience with contact lenses for astigmatism in the comments section.