Million+ Patients Helped

Dry Eye Disease Tangible Science

Brandon Felkins

Chief Operating Officer

Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2010-11

Victor McCray

President & CEO

Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2010-11

"When we were Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellows, we spent months shadowing optometrists and ophthalmologists, looking at different pathologies and disease states within the eye care field. But what we saw over and over were patients complaining about dryness and discomfort, and doctors unable to offer them effective solutions. We got interested in dry eye disease and realized there was a huge population of patients who suffer from contact lens-induced dry eye whose needs weren’t being addressed.

Historically, the eye care industry has focused on developing contact lenses with properties they thought were important – for example, they felt that lenses needed to have significant water content to be comfortable, so all of today’s contact lenses mix in water. We thought about the problem differently – from a biological perspective rather than a chemical one. We looked at the eye and what it normally does to stay moist and healthy. It has components that help hold water on the surface and prevent evaporation, and components that keep the eye slippery and friction low every time we blink. Along with co-founder Karen Havenstrite, we decided to design a lens surface that mimics what the eye does naturally.

​The end result was a specialized coating that can be applied to any hard contact lens that improves wettability, increases surface water retention, reduces friction on the eye, and minimizes deposits on the lens. The first time we heard directly from a patient with significant contact lens discomfort who had used our technology, it was really gratifying – and that positive feedback keeps coming. Just recently, a woman called and told us how she had to retire because her lenses were so uncomfortable that she couldn’t wear them for an entire workday. But, because of us, she has been able to return to her job, and she wanted us to know how that had positively changed her life. Another person contacted us to say that our coating had enabled her to wear specialty lenses rather than having to endure a corneal transplant. Yet another told us simply that we had answered her prayers. Feedback like this makes us extremely proud of the work we’re doing."

Dry Eye Disease


“Another person contacted us to say that our coating had enabled her to wear specialty lenses rather than having to endure a corneal transplant.”

Tangible Science is working to create a family of products that make contact lenses more comfortable and easier to wear. The company’s first product, Tangible Hydra-PEG, strives to dramatically improve the custom hard contact lens experience for patients, eye care professionals, and contact lens manufacturers. 

Disclaimer of Endorsement: All references to specific products, companies, or services, including links to external sites, are for educational purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement by the Byers Center for Biodesign or Stanford University.

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