TUESDAY 2 MAY 2017 12:13 PM


To support a new technology in contact lenses, CooperVision sought to raise awareness about the challenges of digital device usage. Hassan Butt reports on its fight against digital eye fatigue

Challenge: Alight with the glare of liquid crystals, over a third of European Millennials spend nine or more hours in front of a digital screen, with 88% reporting some form of digital eye fatigue (DEF). The syndrome, known scientifically as asthenopia, manifests with dry eyes, eye tiredness and headaches. Yet as the digital dilemma of reconciling retina display with retina damage deepens with each blink of the eye, the solutions have long been far from sight.

Understanding this, software trends have recently spawned a collection of screen dimming options with both Apple iOS and Android favouring the shift in brightness. Other innovators, like Google, Sony and Samsung, have developed ‘smart’ contact lenses – almost like Google Glass in contact lens format. However, as screen usage increases, DEF becomes more of a factor. To alleviate the effects of DEF, and to raise awareness about its causes, CooperVision launched a multichannel communications campaign to support the launch of a new product. Using an alternative approach, global contact lens manufacturer, CooperVision, has developed BioFinity Energys contact lenses, taking optic technology to its most innovative plateau as a wellbeing product.

Its challenge was to create a lens that guards against the alternating pressures of digital devices and offline activities, as well as raise awareness to the growing risks associated with frequent screen usage. With the assistance of launch marketing specialists, Five by Five, the task of communicating to change consumer behaviour and to improve understanding of product requirements involved extensive market research. Accompanying CooperVision’s largest European launch across 14 countries, a new website takes visitors on ‘A Day in the Life of Your Eyes,’ complete with a forthright breakdown of how technology screen use dominates the average day.


Strategy: CooperVision’s communications strategy sought to establish DEF as the driving force behind the new brand. In doing so, it went far beyond the technology of the Biofinity Energys, confronting the dangers of digital overdosing through various infographics. Michael Andrews, senior director at CooperVision, says, “Trying to change people’s behaviours by asking them to scale back their digital device use or change how they interact with screens has limited value.” In alleviating eye fatigue, CooperVision suggests a host of do-it-yourself solutions, including the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 metres away for 20 seconds) and an increased focus on ‘eye-gonomics’ (maintaining proper distance and angle between eyes and screen).

Yet the Biofinity Energys hold innovation as a key element of their use, and with their development falling in line with CooperVision lenses in development since 1980 – from long lasting lenses to dailies – the Biofinity range is one of the company’s most solution- focused. Using multiple aspheric curves, the lenses minimise strain between digital devices and external settings. Incorporating hydration, breathability and lens softness, the product showcases CooperVision’s Aquaform technology, which binds and attracts water to retain moisture, particularly in times of reduced blinking such as the various forms of screen usage.

But, building awareness about DEF was necessary to support the new bran. Sarah Shaw, client director at Five by Five, says, “The key challenge lay in demonstrating the need for the product, and promoting awareness of what digital eye fatigue is. Most people lead digital lives – with their eyes constantly moving between on-screen and off- screen activities. However, the lack of awareness around digital eye fatigue means that consumers often dismiss the symptoms of sore, irritated and tired eyes as normal and just part of their daily life. Working with CooperVision we needed to create a campaign that educated people on DEF as well as demonstrating how the product can combat the issue.”

Results: Contact lenses remain a growing aspect of optometry, but Biofinity Energys present the first bridge between the burgeoning digital landscape’s high- definition outlook, and a forward-thinking initiative to combat DEF. CooperVision’s microsite on DEF includes parallax graphics and bite-sized information to improve understanding of DEF. Its simultaneous social media campaign helped improve its reach among the target Millennial audience. Videos and animations supported the campaign. Users are able to identify the strain on their eyes by watching six character animations that describe different types of screen usage.

In the pre-launch trials, over 7,000 optometrist offices have fitted patients with the lenses, resulting in eight out of 10 digital device users reporting less fatigue after one week’s usage. In addition, the success of the communications campaign and the new technology have resulted in further expansion of the Biofinity range, with Biofinity toric specialising in easing the effects of astigmatism, Biofinity XR extending to both the extremes of
near and far sightedness and Biofinity multifocal for increased focus. Oxana Pastushenko, VP marketing Europe for CooperVision, says, “Biofinity Energys is an important product launch for us as it’s the only product on the market that is specifically designed for digital eye fatigue. These positive results have been supported by strong sales in some of our key markets.”

Yet as the scope of CooperVision’s contact lens technology widens, Its focus on combatting digital eye fatigue will develop through further product innovations. By applying an in-depth communications strategy to its new technology, it has been able to reach its target market and, in collaboration with Five by Five, achieve a successful launch of the new Biofinity Energys range.   


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