Leader Of The (Alternative) Pack: Aveo Contact Lens Review
In 2018, just 2 year after Hubble Contacts (Vision Path Inc.) launched the first mainstream direct to consumer contact lens subscription service, Aveo Vision emerged to take a slice of the $4.8 billion dollar U.S. contact lens market.
Soft contact lenses are worn by 41 million American, most wearing household names like Acuvue, B&L, Ciba and Cooper Vision. Now, alternative brands like Aveo are selling contacts with the promise of lower cost and convenience.
So, what exactly does Aveo have to offer that isn’t already being offered by their competitors?
On the surface, Aveo vision may appear to be just another subscription service for contacts, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Aveo actually makes their own contacts in their own facility. By comparison, Hubble don't manufacture their own lenses, they outsource this step, making them a simple seller and distributor. Aveo controls each step of the process, and this in turn has afforded them the ability to offer superior lenses at a lower cost to the consumer.
How did Aveo Start?
Aveo Vision was founded in 2017 by Cecile Thai, a 30-year old entrepreneur with an MBA from Chicago Booth School of Business. Cecile has no eye care industry experience, unless you consider being a contact lens wearer for 15 years "professional experience".
Ironically, Cecile stopped wearing contacts and had laser corrective surgery performed after her doctor diagnosed her with severe corneal hypoxia (Not enough oxygen getting to the cornea). Cecile had to stop wearing contacts because she was wearing them in an unhealthy manner and this led her to getting laser corrective surgery. (Read her testimony)
According to Cecile, this experience inspired and motivated her to look deeper into the contact lens industry. Upon doing so, she realized that the CL industry could use some less expensive, and more convenient, options for the consumer. Hence, Aveo Vision.
Same, Same but different
Let’s see how Aveo stacks up against the big name manufacturers by focusing on these three parameters:
There have been many advancements in this area. Newer soft contacts are made of silicone-hydrogels which provide more oxygen to your eyes.
The higher the water content, the more moist and "fresh" your eyes will feel.
Oxygen Transmissibility (Dk/t)
The higher the Dk/t, the more oxygen is passing through the contact lens and reaching your eyes.
Aveo contacts are made with Omafilco A, a hydrogel material developed by Cooper Vision in 2006, used in popular products such as the Proclear Sphere, Proclear Toric and Proclear Multi-focal lenses. Omafilcon A is a decent material but Cooper Vision stopped using it in 2013 when they switched all their Proclear products (except Proclear 1-Day products) over to Omafilcon B. To this day all Proclear 1-day lenses are made with Omafilcon A.
The water content increased from 59% to 62%, which is a nice increase, but the most notable change from Omafilcon A to Omafilcon B was the Dk/t increase from 33 to 52.3. Omafilcon A isn’t a low quality material by any means, but it’s not in the same category as today’s silicone hydrogels either.
The material used in soft contact lenses is arguably the most influential factor in its “quality”. This is where companies spend the majority of their research and development money. Contacts aren’t worn today in the same way they were 15-20 years ago. Today, in 2019, contact lens wearers typically leave their lenses in for over 10 hours, all while staring at a computer monitor or smartphone.
So, as we compare the other parameters, keep in mind that a high water content doesn’t mean your eyes are guaranteed to feel fresher, longer. Oxygen Transmissibility is just as important, if not more.
At 59%, the water content is pretty good considering the popular Acuvue Moist 1-Day sits at 58% water content and the latest Cooper Vision daily lens, MyDay, is 54% water. Once again, don’t use this as the sole measure of quality.
Oxygen Levels are decent
I was somewhat pleased to find the Dk/t at 33 for the Aveo lenses. I didn’t have high expectations thanks to the shock I received in reviewing Hubble’s lenses and discovering they have a Dk/t of 18!
Research has shown that a minimum Dk/t of 24 is suggested for standard wear, and a Dk/t value of >87 for extended wear. (Daily disposable lenses, such as those by Aveo, are not categorized as extended wear. Do not wear them overnight.)
As you can see in the diagram above, Aveo is the best out of the three subscription services but they are still far off the current standard for daily disposable lenses. Acuvue, Cooper and Ciba all use Silicone Hydrogels (though they each also offer hydrogel options for patients with silicone allergies) which allow for much greater oxygen transmissibility, which in turn can makes them healthier for your eyes if you intend on wearing them for over 10 hours.
In all honesty, I understand the need for options like Aveo, Hubble and Waldo. Aveo is my favorite out of the current top 3 alternative contact lens options, and though it's not going to be a first choice recommendation from the majority of eye doctors, I consider Aveo to be leading the pack for this emerging sector of the market.
As always, talk to your eye doctor to see if Aveo is the right type of lens for your visual needs and lifestyle.