The Hubble Bubble & Reality

Two ivy league educated young men with venture capital funding recently launched a contact lens company called Hubble.  This one trick pony utilizes old polymer technology in daily disposable contacts in only sphere correction (no astigmatism) pretending to be some new, market leading product while making false arguments trying to convince you to buy from them.

The claim:  “Hubble is a new brand of contact lenses.  We founded Hubble to offer you the high quality, affordable lenses you deserve.”

The truth:  These lenses may be a “new brand” but are old technology.  Worse yet, they are Not the most affordable.  Consumers should always be wary of marketing using the words “you deserve”.  Remember the slogan “You Deserve a Break Today”?  These contacts are made of methafilcon material, which is categorized as FDA Group 4 (IV) high water content, ionic.  That means the lenses are very quick to dry your eyes out; the higher the water content the more sponge-like the lens and the more of your natural tears are drawn into the lens and then evaporated.  This material was utilized two generations ago in old contact lens brands:

Methafilcon is the same material used in these outdated contact lenses few practitioners prescribe to their patients:  Biocurve Advanced Aspheric, Biocurve 1-Day, Biocurve Toric & Sphere, C-Vue1 Day, C-Vue 55, Edge III 55, Elite AC, Elite Daily, Elite AC Toric, Flexlens, Kontur, New Horizons, Sauflon 55 UV, Sauflon 55 Asphere’ Sof-form 55. Vertex Sphere, Vertex Toric.

Is old bad?  Yes it is when oxygen can not get to your cornea as effectively as newer, better materials.  Methifilcon’s ability to transmit oxygen is described by its dK (ability to breath).  The dK is a lowly 18.  Studies have shown human corneas need higher oxygen permeability, at least higher 20’s in order to keep healthy.  A higher dK material is better for the eye.  I routinely prescribe newer silicon hydrogel material contact lenses for my patients which have dK’s over 60, many over 100!  That is a factor of 3 to 5 times more oxygen permeable.  Who’s eyes do you think feel better at the end of a long day – the low dK contact lens patient or the higher dK wearer?

Contact Lenses are Expensive, according to Hubble:  “Why is it so hard to find affordable contact lenses? In the US and Canada, four manufacturers control about 95% of the contact lens market. Without much competition, they’ve set prices to be much higher than they should.”
This is 10% truth and the rest smoke and mirrors.  True, there are four major manufacturers and many smaller ones.  The major manufacturers (Alcon, Vistakon, Cooper and Bausch & Lomb) are in a highly competitive marketplace.  Not only are they very keen on trying to take market share away from each other, each manufacturer is trying to bring better and better products to market and that often includes offering prices cheaper than the competition.  New materials and designs are introduced almost every year by contact lens manufacturers with comfort and eye health their main focus.  Comparing an outdated, 20+ year old Hubble (methafilcon) product to newer product offerings often at the same price and often cheaper than Hubble’s product is simply not logical.  It’s twisting the truth.  Hubble is pulling a fast one, targeting Millennials.  Here’s the break-down:
One year of Hubble Contacts ($30/month plus $3 shipping & handling) = $396
One year of Premium Clariti 1-Day Silicon Hydrogel Contacts, dK 60       = $319        ($449-$130 independent office rebate)
One year of Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus dk 26                                            = $259        ($459-$200 independent office rebate)
So, who’s the smarter consumer now?  Not those who buy Hubble brand contact lenses.  Let’s not forget the loyalty our office has to patients who buy from us – we will stand with them.  Hubble is in the business of selling a product, whereas my office’s primary concern is your eye health.


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