5 Quick Questions with Dr. Alan Reichow, CEO of Altius
1. Why the name?
The name is derived from the Latin phrase comes from the Olympic motto Citius, Fortius which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Performance Tinted Soft Contact Lenses are designed to take the wearer’s performance to a Higher Level. We want to elevate people's individual visual performance.
2. You started out with Nike. What's been the evolution of this category of contact lenses and where do you see it moving in the future?
Nike was looking at how to create the most sophisticated performance sunwear. Our group at Pacific University felt the device needed to be on the cornea rather than spectacles. If the optics, tint, environmental and other issues could be overcome it made sense that a contact lens was the way to go.
We developed prototypes and started conducting research and ultimately Nike asked what's this all about? Ultimately, this ended up being the Nike Maxsight which was fabricated as a monthly replacement soft lens.
A product was fully developed and launched with about 2,500 ECP’s in the USA where the lens was bundled along with a care solution which unfortunately turned out to be incompatible with the eye. At that time Nike chose not to continue down this path.
One of the great learnings from this project was that the product needed to be in a disposable lens and luckily single us lenses were launched about the same time.
Regarding the future, we have an innovation pipeline that will build upon ALTIUS to increase the offerings available today.
3. What's the 360-degree total immersion technology?
This relates to the advantages of contact lenses for performance vision. When wearing eyeglasses there are multiple optical anomalies that can be problematic such as peripheral distortion, image jump, pantoscopic tilt, and reflections. These are not an issue with ALTIUS lenses. The pupil and the line of sight follows eye movement negating these optical effects.
Let’s look at the visual needs of someone playing golf. A challenge is that when you're on a green, reading the contours can be an issue especially later in day or early morning. One doesn’t see details because of the bright areas on each side of the contour.
With 360-degree total immersion technology this is not an issue because of the line of sight being in the proper position in all positions of gaze.
4. What are the lens parameters?
As of today, the lens is available in sphere powers only, has an 8.7 base curve with a 14.2 overall diameter.
We studied the fitting characteristics of the lens, in particular sagittal height, compared to others in the daily disposable category and felt these parameters were best, especially in that a really large number of ALTIUS wearers are Plano, so good fitting characteristics were important.
5. Why do you have two tints?
Chromatic aberration is the most substantial aberration optical issue in the industry. It's not spherical aberration, but chromatic. Altius lenses reduce this by 53%.
The Amber lens is designed to highlight a target and make it pop from the background. So for a dynamic reactive sport, where you're tracking an object, you may be moving relative. These soft sports contact lenses are designed to aid visual performance in athletic and recreational settings by enhancing contrast and enabling the wearer to see objects with greater clarity – sports such as baseball, soccer, football, etc.
The Grey Green lenses are engineered for open-air sports and recreational activities, on-water and on-land, in a wide range of outdoor light conditions. They are designed to aid visual performance by enhancing contrast and enabling the wearer to see with greater clarity in outdoor activities such as surfing, golfing. Kayaking and other.
So, one is for tracking dynamic reactive sport and the other one is for the environmental activities.
Thank you, Dr. Reichow. We look forward to hearing more about these interesting new products in the future.