Ray Of Hope For People With Blinding Disease

Good news. Scientists are developing smart contact lenses embedded with miniscule mirrors that can magnify your vision by almost three times.

The 1.55mm-thick lenses incorporate a thin reflective telescope made of mirrors and filters. When light enters the eye it bounces off the series of mirrors and increases the perceived view of an object or person. It is hoped that the lens will improve the sight of people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — the third leading cause of blindness globally.

AMD causes the loss of central vision due to gradual damage to the eye’s retina and there are few options for cure or treatment. Eric Tremblay, research scientist at EPFL in Switzerland said, AMD is the biggest problem where magnification is a proven visual aid.

Tremblay led the optical design of the lens, which is based on a surgically implantable telescope currently used by some patients with AMD, but which is more invasive than a lens.
A key innovation with the lenses is the added ability to switch between magnified and regular vision through a complementary pair of glasses. Moreover, the battery-powered glasses use LCD technology to watch the movement of the eye and a simple wink can alter their polarization and determine whether light entering is magnified or not.
The ability to selectively magnify your vision makes the design of the glass-lens combination more suitable for daily life.

The team developed their technology on scleral lenses, which have an increased thickness and diameter, making them commonly used for more special purpose eye care.
Researchers said, the lenses have only been trialled on a handful of humans to test for comfort, with the majority of research to date performed in the lab using a model chemical eye. But more human trials are on the cards with the eventual goal of daily wearable contacts to aid the visually impaired.

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