Smart contact lenses are getting smarter. Soon, we may see lenses that adjust light levels for us.
An Unfortunate Injury
Years ago, I treated a young woman who fell victim to a workplace injury. She suffered a severe blow to one of her eyes.
It took a long time and careful treatment to control the internal bleeding and inflammation. When she was stable, it was apparent her iris was damaged. Even today, she is light sensitive because her iris won’t operate properly.
Help On the Horizon?
It is a challenge to control light for people who have irises that do not work. A normal iris is constantly adjusting to light, and our pupils allow just the right amount into our eyes. Without this process, light is very difficult to control.
Earlier this month, an article on IEEE Spectrum reported a promising development. A light-adjusting contact lens is in the works. See the video above for an example of how a lens like this might change.
Details from the article include:
- The lens: A smart contact lens using LCDs can mimic the iris function, creating an artificial pupil that can regulate light.
- The technology: Light sensors detect light and activate the LCDs, “constricting” the artificial pupil in the lens. In dim light, the LCDs turn off, letting more light through the lens.
- Why it’s better: Now, people with iris problems must use sunglasses or photochromic lenses. These may not be dark enough or change fast enough to help. A smart contact lens may be a more efficient way to regulate light.
- Who it helps: According to the article, there may be 200,000 people with iris problems. These may occur from injury, or people may be born with irises that do not work properly.
- The challenge: Although the different components already exist, the next step will be to integrate the technologies so they work together in a wearable contact lens.
We have several patients at LaFollette Eye Clinic who would benefit from these and other smart contact lenses. Watch this site for additional information, and I will post it as it becomes available.
Question: When have you been bothered by bright light? please tell me about it in the comments below.
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Author’s note: Thanks to INVISION Magazine for alerting me to this great information.