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Optoelectronics/Displays??

Contact lens switches from normal to magnified vision

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:contact lens? 3D?

A telescopic contact lens able to shift from normal to magnified view has been developed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, under the leadership of electrical engineering professor Joseph Ford.

The team built a prototype of the lens using a modified standard 3D TV glasses and tested it on a mechanical eye. Ford said, "While there is a great deal of work still ahead, we see a clear path to a comfortable low-vision aid powered by a contact lens, which will help a significant number people who have impaired vision."

The contact lens is one millimetre thick. Researchers used aluminium mirrors, fit tightly together, to create a ring-shaped telescope embedded in the contact lens. The centre of the lens allows for normal, non-magnified vision. Its periphery, where the telescope is located, magnifies images 2.8 times.

Aluminium mirrors fitted together form a ring-shaped telescope embedded in the contact lens

Figure 1: Aluminium mirrors fitted together form a ring-shaped telescope embedded in the contact lens.

This new technology could be used to improve vision for patients suffering from eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a condition that causes loss of vision in the centre of the visual field. Last summer, UC San Diego researchers worked with partners at Innovega and Paragon Vision Sciences to conduct human clinical trials on a preliminary version of the wearable lens. A second round of clinical trials is scheduled later this year.

The telescopic contact lens, once fine-tuned, will be less invasive than the miniature telescopes that can currently be implanted into patients' eyes. In addition, the lens the researchers developed does a better job at collecting light. The lens is also less bulky than telescopes mounted on glasses that are currently available to help patients with impaired vision. The contact lens' optics make it possible to switch between normal and magnified vision by combining the contact lenses with glasses such as the "active shutter" glasses worn to watch some 3D televisions.


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