NIKE AND BAUSCH + LOMB (B+L) initially brought the MaxSight sport-tinted contact lens to market in 2004. It was subsequently discontinued in 2008. Flash forward a decade, and Performance Vision Technologies Inc. (PVTI), through a development agreement with specialty lens manufacturer Vizion Focus Inc., introduced the Altius Performance Tinted Contact Lens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved Altius lens was brought to market in 2022 and is now exclusively distributed in the U.S. by ABB Optical Group.
The Altius lenses are available in 10-, 30-, and 90-packs. With an 8.7mm base curve and 14.2mm diameter, Altius is available in powers of plano, and –0.50D to –6.00D sph in 0.25D steps. Two tint options are available: amber is for dynamic, reactive sports (baseball, soccer, football, tennis, etc.) in various outdoor light conditions; and gray-green is best for open-air sports and recreational activities, on water and on land, such as surfing, golfing, cycling, sailing, etc.
Additionally, practitioners can purchase the Altius Premier Performance Center, which is a two-tray unit that contains 108 10-packs; each tray can house eight plano 10-packs and two 10-packs for each corrective power. There is also a one-tray Altius Basic Performance Center option was released that includes 24 10-packs covering both tints in plano and limited powers.
Here, CLS shares the clinical experiences of four practitioners who are using PVTI’s Altius lenses in their practices.
Please tell us about your experience with PVTI Altius lenses.
Bronson W. Hamada, OD, who practices in Huntington Beach, CA, anticipated that a daily disposable tinted sports lens would be well received by his athlete patients, but had no idea that it would help differentiate his sports vision practice and would also drive new patients into the office. “We’ve had tremendous success fitting recreational enthusiasts as well as collegiate and professional athletes,” he says.
Fred Edmunds, OD, who practices in Victor, NY, used to work for B+L on the Nike MaxSight lens. He also describes using the Altius lens as an element to help athletes optimize their performance. “When they first try on the lens, a lot of athletes will exclaim ‘Oh my goodness, it feels like I can see in HD now,’” Dr. Edmunds says.
While Altius is generally marketed to athletes, Heather Webster, OD, who works in a neuro-optometry practice in St. Louis, has found an alternate use. “Even though I know that the lens came out for sports, I kind of jumped right on it because that was a way for me to help my patients continue their care after their concussions or brain injuries.
“A lot of my patients just can’t deal with light because it causes them to have migraines every day. The nice thing about the Altius lens is they get an immediate response to it,” continues Dr. Webster. “A lot of times it’s kind of a slow process. With any type of treatment, especially after brain injury, it can be months before they can start feeling back to normal. Altius allows them to get back into their normal day-to-day activities.”
Who are the best candidates for this product and why?
The “slam dunk patients” for Amanda Nanasy, OD, who practices in Pembroke Pines, FL, are usually athletes who want a competitive edge or are complaining of glare/excess light. Dr. Hamada agrees that the best candidates are athletes who are bothered by harsh sunlight, stadium lighting, or glare. “Ask any outfielder who has lost a ball in the sun or a tennis player who is trying to serve with the sun directly in their eyes. The best candidates seek crisp, clear vision, demand peak contrast sensitivity, and want to see exquisite detail under adverse environmental conditions,” he notes.
According to Dr. Edmunds, demand depends on geographic location and/or by season. “We have colleagues in Hawaii who are doing more gray-green because they get a lot of people in the water,” he says. “And some areas are susceptible to the seasons; it’s quiet over the course of the winter months in northern New York because everything is mostly inside.”
Tell us about the fitting process and what has worked best.
Dr. Nanasy prefers to have patients put one lens on and then take a walk outside. “I have them look around using the eye with the lens first (covering the other eye). Then I have them cover the Altius and look with their naked eye/normal contact lens. I will watch them switch back and forth covering each eye and then make sure to take note of how much ‘better’ or ‘more comfortable’ they see outside so I can add it to their chart,” she says.
Dr. Edmunds uses a similar fitting method. “During the trial, they’re not blinded by the sun, so that immediately demonstrates the impact of the lens,” he says. “Nothing is quite as successful or valuable as demonstrating the performance of the tints on the eyes as opposed to just giving them a pair and saying, ‘Here you go. Check them out, and give me a call if you want to buy some.’”
Dr. Hamada says that, during the evaluation, he discusses the science behind the tints. “We’ve had numerous patients order both tints,” he says.
How has the Altius lens helped troubleshoot particular patients?
Because of her subspecialty, Dr. Webster’s patient base is full of migraine sufferers. Because Altius lenses can help with light sensitivity, they are a go-to lens for this. “I keep some plano lenses on hand. And many patients wear the lenses underneath their glasses,” she explains. “We can make sure everything is fitting and we can do all that the same day.”
In the past, Dr. Nanasy had patients who never felt comfortable with rec specs under their helmets but still had issues with glare. “Getting approved for a tinted visor in the National Football League is a nightmare, and this is an easy fix,” she says.
Tell us about any success stories.
Dr. Nanasy tells of using the amber lens with a concussion patient. “I had one patient put them on then walk out to my reception area. I found her staring up at our ceiling fan and smiling,” she says. “Noting my confused look, she told me that before she had to avoid looking at the fan or she would feel sick. Now, she was fine. Success.”
A success story for Dr. Hamada is of a hockey player who had a protracted recovery from a concussion sustained three years earlier. He had ongoing headaches and photophobia as well as difficulty with memory and maintaining focus. “He became easily fatigued, and he looked fragile, lethargic, and depressed,” he says. “Our therapeutic plan included wearing Altius plano, gray-green lenses under his new eyeglass Rx. The gray-green tint immediately mitigated his photophobia and headaches, and he has made significant strides toward recovery.”
Finally, Dr. Edmunds spoke of a high school baseball player who was having some issues at the plate. The patient’s performance saw lots of variability depending on the field. “I did the training program with him and that helped him out quite a bit. And then I also said, ‘By the way, we have this that may help you.’ He had been trending toward playing Division 3, but with the Altius lenses, he crushed his season and went Division 1.” CLS