Smart Silicone™ is a lens chemistry developed by CooperVision Inc. and introduced with the MyDay product family in 2015.
It promises to put an end to the compromise that used to be inevitable with silicone hydrogel contact lenses: Choosing between soft moist comfort and the ability to transport high levels of oxygen.
According to CooperVision, traditional silicone hydrogel lenses require far more silicone to transmit the same amount of oxygen as lenses with Smart Silicone™, because they have much less silicone material and more space for the hydrophilic material that helps provide wearers with softness and comfort.
Arthur Back, CTO of CooperVision explains:
At the outset of the MyDay development, we wanted to develop a lens that satisfied an unmet need we saw in the marketplace. The specific objectives we set for our development team were to provide a lens that had really good oxygen permeability, was very soft and comfortable and importantly had good handling.
Steve Diamanti, R&D Manager at the CooperVision Chemistry Group adds:
Having to trade-off softness and moisture for high oxygen transmission has been a compromise that has limited the success of silicone hydrogel materials until now.
With Smart Silicone™ chemistry we've ended these compromises. Smart Silicone™ chemistry enables the formation of continuous silicone channels in the MyDay lens which act as an efficient conduit for oxygen to travel through the lens to the cornea. Because of efficient oxygen transmission, we can use far less silicone than other one-day silicone hydrogel lenses, yet still, deliver 100% of corneal oxygen needs. This means that there is more room in the lens for water-loving hydrophilic materials enabling us to boost water content in turn leading to a softer and moister lens.
According to CooperVision, silicone channels are surrounded by water-rich hydrophilic material and thanks to Smart Silicone™ chemistry these channels carry oxygen to the wearer's cornea with high efficiency whereas traditional silicone hydrogel lenses require more silicone to transmit the same amount of oxygen. In other words: Less silicone, more room for water-loving material and a lower modulus (meaning a more flexible lens) provide lens wearers with softness, comfort and up to 100% of the oxygen that the eyes need.