Novartis' CIBA Vision Unit Launches Focus Night & Day

Contact Lenses for Up to 30 Nights\' Wear BASEL, Switzerland (PROTEXT)

Novartis announced today that its CIBA Vision eye-care unit has begun market introductions of its revolutionary Focus(R) NIGHT & DAY(TM) high oxygen soft contact lenses that can be worn safely for up to 30 nights' extended wear. The market's first high oxygen extended wear soft contact lenses, Focus NIGHT & DAY lenses are available immediately in Spain and Mexico, with launches in additional markets to follow soon. Focus NIGHT & DAY lenses are a major breakthrough and overcome one of the significant barriers to safe 30-night extended wear: high oxygen transmissibility. Made of an entirely new, revolutionary material, they have the industry's highest oxygen transmissibility, allowing up to six times more oxygen to the cornea than ordinary soft contact lenses. Oxygen is critical to maintaining eye health night and day, and is one of the major factors for safe, successful extended wear of soft contact lenses. Focus NIGHT & DAY lenses thus help to maintain eye health during overnight wear by allowing oxygen transmission to the eye during sleep. Glen Bradley, President and CEO of CIBA Vision, commented, "Contact lens wearers have long wanted a lens that provides around-the-clock vision with the convenience of no lens care. Focus NIGHT & DAY lenses answer this consumer need and, with up to six times more oxygen than ordinary lenses, they can be worn safely for up to 30 nights and help to maintain eye health." Consumer research shows that nearly half of contact lens wearers worldwide are interested in a soft contact lens that they can sleep in overnight for up to 30 nights. Within the next five years, it is estimated that approximately 15% of all contact lenses wearers will choose extended wear contact lenses, with this new segment accounting for 20% or more of the worldwide lens market value. Today, approximately 60 million people worldwide wear contact lenses, growing to more than 80 million by 2005. The worldwide contact lens market is currently valued at approximately CHF 4.2 billion and is expected to top CHF 7.0 billion by 2005. CIBA Vision is the eye care unit of Novartis AG, a world leader in Life Sciences with core businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness and Consumer Health (Nutrition and Self-Medication). In 1998, Novartis Group sales were CHF 31.7 billion, of which CHF 17.5 billion were in Healthcare, CHF 8.4 billion in Agribusiness and CHF 5.8 billion in Consumer Health. The group annually invests more than CHF 3.7 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs about 82,000 people and operates in over 100 countries around the world. Further information is available via the internet: www.cibavision.com and www.novartis.com . ots Original Text Service: Novartis AG Internet: http://www.newsaktuell.de Contact: Ann Berry of CIBA Vision, 770-418-3014 Web site: http://www.novartis.com Web site: http://www.cibavision.com

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