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Contact lens among top 100 scientific breakthroughs of 2020

CooperVision’s MiSight 1 day contact lens has been ranked in Popular Science’s top 100 innovations of 2020, alongside a fast, ultra-cheap coronavirus test, and joining past winners such as the portable defibrillator and the first spacecraft to visit Pluto.

The contact lens manufacturer announced that its daily wear, single use contact lens for myopia control had been recognised in the health category as part of the magazine’s 33rd annual Best of What’s New Awards.

Popular Science is an American quarterly publication featuring science and technology content for general readers. Its awards recognise the most innovative technologies from the past year across 10 categories, such as health, home, aerospace and security.

Each product or technology must represent a significant step forward, with past winners including the first portable defibrillator (1997), NASA’s New Horizons voyage to Pluto (2015), the first FDA-approved gene therapy (2017) and 5G cellular (2019).

This year’s winner of the health category was Abbott Laboratories’s BinaxNOW rapid test, which received emergency-use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August. It detects COVID-19 in fifteen minutes for around $5 (AU$6.70) per test – without the need for specialised lab equipment.

Antigen tests, like BinaxNOW, are considered an important piece of the broader COVID-19 testing strategy. Image Abbott Laboratories

Commenting on CooperVision’s award, ANZ professional services manager Mr Joe Tanner said: “MiSight 1 day is the only FDA approved treatment that can help reduce the severity of myopia progression and we are delighted that Popular Science has recognised the impact of this technology.”

With the widespread reach of the awards, CooperVision believes it will drive more parents to seek information about myopia management from optometrists.

It comes as new data emerges from CooperVision’s landmark clinical study revealing that nearly one in four children’s eyes originally fitted with MiSight 1 day remain stable in their myopia level after six years.

The study previously established the lens to be effective in slowing myopia progression in children by an average of 59% over a three-year period, as measured by spherical refraction.

Ophthalmic telehealth innovation

Other ophthalmic-related products to feature in Popular Science’s top 100 were the MedWand, by MedWand Solutions, and eyewear by a company called Stoggles.

MedWand is a clinical-grade diagnostic kit that allow doctors to gather information remotely that typically requires an in-person visit.

The MedWand has ophthalmic applications. Image: MedWand Solutions

About the size of a small coffee mug, the USB-connected setup gives physicians real-time access to data from 10 examination tools, including a stethoscope, otoscope (for the ears), ophthalmoscope (for the back of the eyes), and a dermatoscope (for skin lesions) – as well as a thermometer, a pulse oximeter (for monitoring heart rate and blood oxygen levels), and an ECG sensor. The device is pending FDA clearance.

Stoggles are eyewear featuring protective side shielding. The glasses are American National Standards Institute-certified as safety goggles and feature blue-light filtering, UV reactivity to provide tinted sun protection, and an anti-fog coating.

Stoggles eyewear. Image: Stoggles