Alcon has done it again! They have released a brand new monthly replacement contact lens called TOTAL30. The name is a nod to Alcon’s highly successful daily contact lens DAILIES TOTAL1, and although there are some similarities between the two, the new monthly TOTAL30 is an entirely different product. In this article I will review everything that is known so far about this contact lens.
Water Content Gradient
The most outstanding feature of this contact lens is its water content gradient. But what is the water content of contact lenses and why does it matter?
Every contact lens brand is made with a material that holds a certain amount of water. This property of the material is called the water content.
Contact lenses that have high water content will feel very moist and comfortable on the eyes. However, they will not be very strong and may not hold their shape well or tear easily.
Contact lenses that have low water content are stronger and will hold their shape well, but feel are less flexible and uncomfortable on the eyes.
This trade off between comfort and structural integrity has always resulted in contact lenses that feel like something is in our eyes. A few years ago Alcon came up with the water content gradient and marketed it as the contact lens that feels like nothing. This was the now very successful daily contact lens brand DAILIES TOTAL1.
DAILIES TOTAL1 are made with a low water content of 33% in the contact lens’ core, but this increases to ~100% on the inner and outer surfaces (the surfaces that interact with our cornea and our eyelids). The core keeps the contact lens shape intact while the surfaces provide maximum comfort. Years later, this has proven to be a winning design, as DAILIES TOTAL1 have generally be regarded as the most comfortable contact lenses on the market despite several attempts at de-throning it by the other contact lens manufacturers.
However, DAILIES TOTAL1 are expensive and not everybody wants to wear daily disposable contact lenses.
TOTAL30 utilizes the water content gradient introduced in the DAILIES TOTAL1 and puts it into a monthly contact lens. That being said, TOTAL30 utilizes a different material, it has a different water content gradient, and it must manage to maintain excellent comfort for over thirty days of use. Let’s examine the differences between DAILIES TOTAL1 and TOTAL30 a little more closely.
DAILIES TOTAL1 (Material: delefilcon A)
DAILIES TOTAL1’s water content gradient starts at 33% in the core, reaches 80% near the surfaces in a region they call the Ultrasoft Hydrophilic Surface Gel, and then ~100% on the outsides.
TOTAL30 (Material: lehfilcon A)
TOTAL30 on the other hand starts at 55% in the core and increase to ~100% on the surface. Alcon has dropped the terminology of Ultrasoft Hydrophilic Surface Gel for the TOTAL30, but presumably the new technology they call Celligent is a modification of that. Given that the concept of the water content gradient was simply taken from Dailies TOTAL1, the Celligent technology is truly the new feature of the TOTAL30 contact lenses.
Important Note: Water content alone is not all the determines how comfortable a contact lens is. There are many other material properties that come into play.
Every monthly contact lens has to find a way to make the contact lens last for 30 days. In the case of TOTAL30 that is Celligent Technology.
Celligent Technology refers to the way the contact lens surface is built. The entire contact lens surface is covered with what Alcon calls biomimetic features. This means that they have studied the way the surface of the eye looks on a molecular level, and replicated that on the surface of the TOTAL30 lenses.
In particular, the molecular properties of these biomimetic features form a kind of barrier that resists large molecules such as fatty lipids and microorganisms like bacteria from breaching the surface and entering the contact lens. The prevents what’s known as contact lens deposits from accumulating throughout the month and also makes them resistant to infections.
When contact lens manufacturers release a new product, they always use studies to back up their claims. However, it is important to take the result of these studies with a grain of salt. It common for companies to focus on cherry picked findings that offer the narrative that they want. The complete story may be different.
Additionally, many of the studies referenced in the promotion material for new contact lenses are often kept in-house and not available to the public for review, making it difficult to scrutinize their claims.
Here is an example:
This infographic claims that TOTAL30 has the longest lasting lens-surface moisture of all its competitors.
The data to back up this claim is contained in reference 14 at the bottom of the page. If we scroll down to see what that reference is, all we get is ‘Alcon data on file, 2021’. This means that we just have to take their word for it because we can’t look at the data for ourselves.
Here are the published studies I found that were also used as references. Unfortunately, they are not very informative.
Ultimately, it is customer reviews that will determine the success of TOTAL30. Big company claims can help build some hype, but if the people who wear the lenses don’t love it, ultimately, the brand will not catch on.
You can contribute to the fate of TOTAL30 by adding your own experience with them here on Contacts Advice. If you’ve worn these lenses, leave your impression in the comments below!
Now for the big question on everyone’s mind. How much do TOTAL30 contact lenses cost?
At the time of writing this article, here are some the prices for a box of TOTAL30 (6 pack) online:
Frankly, this is a great price point. It is in line with all leading major brands of monthly contact lenses. This is unlike its daily counterpart, the DAILIES TOTAL1 which are significantly more expensive than other leading brands of daily contact lens brands.
Here is the breakdown of the TOTAL30 parameters.
|Dk/t||154 @ -3.00D|
|Center Thickness||0.09mm @ -3.00D|
|Power Range||+8.00D to -12.00D|
|Water Content||55% (core) / ~100% (surface)|
|UV Protection||Class I UV Absorption|
|Blue Light Blocking||Somewhat|
Total30 contact lenses are an exciting new addition to the contact lens market. It is the first new monthly contact lens with any real new technological innovations. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be a success. Keep in mind that although there are similarities with DAILIES TOTAL1, which are unquestionably one of the best daily disposable contact lenses, TOTAL30 are not the same as DAILIES TOTAL1. TOTAL30 has the added challenge of having to remain comfortable (or as Alcon puts it: ‘feel like nothing‘) for a whole thirty days of wear, and that’s a very tall order.
Let me know what you think of TOTAL30 in the comments below! Where did you get them? How much did you pay? And most importantly, how did they feel -both at the beginning and throughout the month? Thank you in advance for sharing your experience!