Joel Hunter, MD Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 10/31/18 11:16 AM
There are marketing terms that have no meaning but are designed to sound appealing. Ever hear about contacts with Hydraclear Plus technology? If you have a TV and have watched more than ten commercials on it, I bet you have. Here’s the thing, it means nothing. The contacts are made out of a material called Senofilcon A and someone (wisely) said, “No one will buy contacts made out of Senofilcon A, let’s call this… Hydrocomfort, no… Maybe aqua moist? No, no, that’s not it. Moist didn’t perform well in the focus groups. How about, hmmm… Hydraclear Plus?” And then 30 million people bought them because that is a great name for contact lens material.
What is blended vision?
The problem with blended vision is that exactly the opposite is true. It is a genuinely accurate term for the science behind it. But it suffers a branding problem because of mono-vision. Mono-vision—also accurately named—is a solution to the problem of having both near and distance vision with contacts after the age of 45. Mono means that each eye is doing its own thing: one for near and one for distance. About 50% of people like mono-vision contacts okay. The other 50% haaaate it. They hate it with all the extra a’s spoken in drawn out, miserable groan.
With blended vision, the science behind it means your eyes work together. You’ll notice in this way, it’s a bit like the opposite of mono-vision, which depends on your eyes working separately. Why does this matter? That’s a great question with a great answer. Your brain has a vision processing center called the visual cortex. And the visual cortex is made to use both eyes together. It’s built into its wiring. So the 50% of people who haaaate mono-vision contacts feel that way because their visual cortex says, “I will do what I was designed to do. I will not suffer fools who try to cheat my system.” This means blur and headaches and double vision.
What’s the solution?
Those symptoms are a result of trying to use your visual cortex in a way other than how it was designed. At best, mono-vision is ignorable and becomes a workable solution. But it never uses both eyes together. Here’s the secret with refractive surgery: if you can accurately correct the prescription for each eye to be exactly right, you can use both eyes together. It’s a way to appease your visual cortex and let it use both eyes together, but still see distance and near without glasses.
The eye that is set up for more near vision needs just enough distance vision. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it has to be usable. I describe usable as being able to read the clock on the wall even if the numbers aren’t perfectly sharp. Once that goal is met, (and with today’s technology, it can be met with great accuracy and repeatability) we’re home free. The “mono-vision is the worst” half of the population gains an option for seeing distance and near without needing glasses.
I feel like it’s important to point out that this isn’t a theory. There isn’t a day that goes by in clinic where I don’t see at least one patient who failed miserably with mono-vision contacts and is doing amazing with blended vision. It’s hard to communicate the good news to people who could benefit from it because the branding of a process matters so much. If I ever find the person who created the name Hydraclear Plus, I will implore him to use his mighty powers on the term “blended vision.” If anyone could create the perfect term, it’s that person. I imagine I’d be escorted out of their mansion by security though because 30 million contact lens wearers agree with me that Hydraclear Plus is a great name.