In Madison, Wisconsin, Dr. Hongrui Jiang has developed a contact lens which overcomes presbyopia. Presbyopia normally affects the over 40’s, as the human eye ages, it loses some elasticity and stiffens. This makes it difficult to focus on close up objects.
Current correction of vision is available through glasses, contact lens or surgery, but all of these techniques have drawbacks and can reduce contrast and sensitivity as well as affecting night vision.
Jiang’s design allows the contact lenses to continuously adjust to your cornea, thus effectively recreating a youthful eye. Embedded in Jiang’s contacts are solar powered computers and electronic circuitry which can adjust even in low-light conditions. His lenses have a layer of transparent liquid crystal that can alter the way light passes through by using an electrical current.
There are sensors embedded which detect the user’s focus and adjust immediately.
This technology has obvious implications for older people whose vision deteriorates over time, but also has many other potential uses: smart lenses like this could help reduce traffic accidents, particularly in bad weather. Athletes may also find them deeply useful, as would soldiers due to the contact lenses ability to offer flawless constantly correcting vision.
Jiang’s inspiration was the elephant nose fish. This particular fish lives in Central and West Africa in dark, muddy, slow moving rivers. It has evolved the ability to change its focus in milliseconds which allows it to see predators even in the mud on the bottom.
This exciting innovation hasn’t yet made it to market, but when it does, it will offer immense advantages to people throughout the world.