Smart contact lenses - A vision of the future!
October 7, 2020
In the not too distant future, we will be using contact lenses far more frequently. From being able to administer eye drops with a gradual dose delivery over time to getting a heads up display on a tiny screen, contact lenses are going to get a whole new meaning and purpose. Already in use is the Triggerfish, which was FDA approved in 2016. This helps monitor intraocular pressure (IOP) which is important in glaucoma, one of the world’s leading causes of irreversible blindness. In the future, the technology will become available to not just treat illness but to augment the eye’s capability. An international collaboration of scientists working from San Diego, California and Harbin, China is working towards a contact lens which can shift between normal and magnified vision on blinking. This works by incorporating tightly fitted mirrored surfaces into a telescope a millimetre thick which fits into a contact lens.
One of the most interesting is Mojo Vision’s Mojo Lens, which features a built-in display that gives people useful and timely information without forcing them to look down a screen. This can give lighting enhancements, zoom functionality for people with low vision or for fine tasks and effectively a heads-up display using a tiny 14k-pp microLED display, the smallest and densest ever developed.
As science fiction becomes science fact, I am sure that many of my patients will one day benefit from these technologies. With time, it may even be possible to incorporate these technologies into an intraocular lens such that this could be built into an eye at the time of cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange.