This Smart Contact Lens May Help People With Eye Injuries

Sensitive LCDs Adjust to Light

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.

Novartis to Buy Miracle Eye Drop Company

Are We Closer to a Cure For Blurry Near Vision?

Last week, Novartis announced it would buy Encore Vision, a company that is developing eye drops to cure blurry near vision.

Will we eventually be able to tackle this stack of books without the glasses?

A Common Complaint

I hear it all the time:

“Can’t I just get LASIK?”

“Aren’t there drops for that?”

“Are reading glasses my only option?”

“I guess I’m just getting old.”

When every human being hits middle age, their focusing system slows down.  For many people (unless you have the perfect amount of nearsightedness) this means progressively blurry vision for anything within arm’s length.  This includes your phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, books, mail, taxes, and photos of your children.  Or grandchildren.

As if that weren’t insult enough, the condition is called presbyopia.  That word means “old eyes.”  And people have been dealing with presbyopia since the beginning of time.

A Cure in Sight?

Last week, a major ophthalmic player, Novartis, announced their intent to buy Encore Vision, Inc.  One important aspect of Encore’s work is the development of an eye drop that may cure presbyopia.

According to the Novartis press release, here’s what you need to know:

  • What is it?  The experimental drug known as EV06 is the first ever eye drop treatment for presbyopia.
  • What does it do?  EV06 was able to improve subjects’ near vision to 20/40 in 83% of cases.
  • What’s next?  Assuming the Novartis/Encore purchase goes through, look for Novartis to expand studies and file for approval with the FDA.  While this can be a slow process, I’m excited about the possibilities.
  • What does it all mean?  The most common treatments for presbyopia are glasses and contact lenses.  And to be fair, there are some amazing lenses available.  (There are also some alternative treatments, but nothing that has gained mainstream acceptance).  If we eventually have an eye drop for presbyopia, it may mean some people will continue their lives without glasses or contacts.  It may also mean that those who need a prescription will be able to keep their “single vision” lenses, which can be much clearer than progressive glasses or contacts.

Although the purchase of Encore isn’t final, the announcement states the deal is close to being done.

Having an eye care heavy hitter like Novartis take over Encore Vision and EV06 is good news for our industry.  It’s also good news for people with presbyopia, and anyone living the visual lifestyle.

Stay tuned and I will keep you up to date as Novartis releases additional information.

Question:  When does blurry vision bother you the most?  Please let me know in the comments below.


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The Best (Last Minute) Visual Lifestyle Gift This Year

Is Your Shopping Done Yet?

With Christmas just a few days away, there’s not much time left to find something special.  If you’re still in the market, there’s one great gift you can still get your hands on.

A Colorful Discovery

A few years ago, we started carrying Maui Jim sunwear in The Eyewear Gallery at LaFollette Eye Clinic.  I knew of the brand for years, but hadn’t been convinced to carry them up until that point.  We already carried many excellent brands, and I was happy with my own sunwear.

Or so I thought.

Once I received my first pair of Maui Jims, I was astonished.  I first thought their commercials (see the video above) were just good marketing.  But I was seeing colors so brightly, I could hardly believe it.  I often stepped outside and put them on just to try them again.

My Maui Jim sunglasses are my best visual lifestyle accessory to date.

A Colorful Company

According to their website, Maui Jim sunglasses were introduced in 1980 in Hawaii.  Their location meant they had to pay close attention to stopping intense glare and harmful UV radiation.  And, they wanted lenses that enhanced the beautiful colors of the island.

Today, Maui Jim makes superior sunwear.  The company and technology may have evolved, but their core philosophy continues to drive them.

Here are four excellent reasons you should give Maui Jim sunwear this year:

  • Mission: Maui Jim states their mission is to “spread aloha through vivid color, clarity, and detail.”
  • Philosophy: Their sunwear is a combination of the core elements of their philosophy, which includes protection (from glare and UV), vision (both color and clarity), and of course, style.
  • Belief: According to their website, the company believes color and light are the keys to human experience.
  • Service: This is where Maui Jim really stands out.  Our Leadership Team met just this morning to decide what to do about several name brand companies that are reducing their service to both us and our patients.  Maui Jim, on the other hand, provides the best customer service I have ever experienced from a sunwear vendor in over twenty years.

Christmas is coming fast.  If you’d like to give Maui Jim sunwear this season, you’ll probably have to go to a dealer.  That’s easy.  Click here to find one near you.  Whether you’re giving a pair to yourself or a loved one, they will be enjoyed for a long time.

Question: What’s your favorite time to wear sunglasses?  Please let me know in the comments below.