Prototype contact lenses that allow wearers to zoom in and out developed by Scientists

February 15, 2015 10:20 am

Scientists are developing new contact lenses that could give wearers superhero-like vision.
The
revolutionary lenses would allow individuals to zoom in and out, but
which may also offer hope to thousands of elderly people suffering from
vision loss.
The prototype lenses, presented at the American
Association for the Advancement of ’s yesterday in San Jose,
California, contain tiny aluminium telescopes that would interact with a
pair of specially designed glasses to allow you to toggle between
normal and ‘zoomed in’ viewing.
The operating instructions tell users to wink the right eye to zoom and the left to zoom out.
The
lenses, which were first developed with the US Defence Advance Research
Projects Agency as super-thin cameras for aerial drones, have been
retooled as a possible solution for those with age-related macular
degeneration.

Although initially developed for military use, the lenses may help
elderly people suffering from macular degeneration. Photo / Thinkstock

Macular degeneration is when the light receptors on the inner
surface of the eye are lost, resulting in blurred central vision. This
can make performing normal talks – such as reading – next to impossible.
Eric
Tremblay, from the Swiss Federal Institute of in Lausanne,
said: “We think these lenses hold a lot of promise for low vision and
age-related macular degeneration.
“At this point, it is still
research but we are very hopeful it will eventually become a real option
for people with age-related macular degeneration,” Mr Tremblay told the
Daily Mail.
However, before the lenses can be rolled out scientists need to create a lighter, more ‘breathable’, version.
The
rigid prototypes, which still allow light through the centre of the
lenses, are bigger and thicker than traditional lenses but surrounded by
mirrors.
It is these mirrors that provide the ‘superhero’ elements of the
contact lenses. By bouncing the light around the view – as seen by the
wearer – is magnified.
The spectacles would control the level of magnification.

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