Contact Telescope in the Making

By Katelyn Hawkes
Blog Content Contributor

I have recently come across a new development in contact lenses for the visually impaired. The new prototype has surfaced in California at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference. Researchers were able to create a lens that zooms in and out with a ‘wink’ of the eye.

But, what about blinking? According to researchers, the lenses are smart enough to decipher a ‘wink’ from a natural ‘blink’ of the eye. Not high tech enough for you? The lenses comprise of a thin, reflective telescope that can zoom in up to 2.8x.

The lenses were originally developed for people with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. These prototypes cover the sclera, or the white part, of the eye. As an avid contact lens wearer, I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t my eyes get dry wearing such a bulky lens?’ Scientists have that covered too. The lenses have microscopic air channels to help the flow of oxygen required by the eye.

Latest improvements to the prototype include the ability to track the eye movements that help the wearer focus more clearly.   Scientists have not put it on the consumer market yet, however, as it is still in the prototype stage. As part of the 280 million people worldwide that are visually impaired, I ask: is this new contact lens the answer to all our optical tribulations?


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