New contact lens that can provide the user with telescopic vision

New contact lens that can provide the user with telescopic vision
Telescopic contact lens as compared with a quarter (for scale). (Image Credit: Eric Tremblay and Joe Ford / EPFL)

Main Point:

A newly introduced telescopic lens can help people to view things by zooming in to the object.

Study Further:

Eric Tremblay, an optics specialist, has recently introduced a unique contact lens that can provide the user of the lens with telescopic vision. The lens was shown earlier this year during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Jose, California.

This new contact lens is 1.55 mm in thickness having a very thin, reflective telescope, allowing the user to zoom in and out. Scleral lens is used to make telescopic contacts – although larger in diameter than most of the commonly used lenses, but helpful in special cases as, for example, for people having irregularly shaped corneas. Moreover, these lenses are comfortable and safe for special applications, and can be used in many technologies such as sensors, optics, and electronics.

Working of the lens is that “small mirrors within bounce light around, expanding the perceived size of objects – magnifying the view, so it’s like looking through low magnification binoculars.”

The lens is also helpful in better oxygen flow around and underneath the lens. It has also smart glasses responding to wearer’s winks (not blinks) allowing the user to zoom in and out.

This newly developed lens has not only uses in military (actually, DARPA, which is a U.S. government research agency, funded the project) but also helps about 285 million people in the world, who are facing the problem of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is one of the leading causes of blindness. Those lenses could help patients of AMD in better reading, and recognition of objects and faces.

“We think these lenses hold a lot of promise for low vision and age-related macular degeneration. At this point this is still research, but we are hopeful it will eventually become a real option for people with AMD,” Tremblay said. “It’s very important and hard to strike a balance between function and the social costs of wearing any kind of bulky visual device. There is a strong need for something more integrated and a contact lens is an attractive direction.”


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Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.