Telescopic Contact Lenses Designed to Treat Vision Loss

Researchers hope the technology will help people suffering from macular degeneration

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Eric. J. Tremblay, Igor Stamenov, R. Dirk Beer, Ashkan Arianpour, Joseph E. Ford, Opt. Express 21, 15980-15986 (2013) / OSA

The telescopic contact lens

Researchers have created contact lenses with the power to magnify a person’s sight up to 2.8 times.

The lenses can switch between magnification to normal viewing mode through the use of special 3D glasses. A central ring in the lens allows for normal vision; once the user dons specially created 3D glasses – borrowed from the glasses Samsung makes for its 3D televisions – polarizing filters in the glasses will direct and bounce light off a larger ring in the lens that translates to magnified sight.

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UC San Diego, in collaboration with Switzerland’s Polytechnic School (EPFL), originally designed the lens in order to help older people who have been stricken with decreasing vision and blindness–known as macular degeneration, but they are also being considered by the U.S. military due to the technology’s potential interest in enabling soldiers to have “super vision,” according to the BBC. In November, the gas-permeable lenses will start being used in clinical trials to treat macular degeneration sufferers, whose treatments are currently limited to invasive surgery or bulky glasses.

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Eric. J. Tremblay, Igor Stamenov, R. Dirk Beer, Ashkan Arianpour, Joseph E. Ford, Opt. Express 21, 15980-15986 (2013). / OSA

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