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How far can technology take vision?

South Korean researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have created a soft contact lens prototype that may be able to monitor eyes for possible vision problems or even act as a delivery method for medicine to the eyes. The experimental model has been tested on rabbits and one human.

This "smart contact lens" is being developed to correct vision and drive electronic devices. These electronic devices would continuously screen eye fluids for indications of eye diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes.

Small, soft and flexible, these smart contact lenses will resemble the typical soft contacts and will not irritate the eyes or reduce the field of vision. The smart contacts are equipped with minute electrode circuitry on the outer edge with a razor thin paste that acts as a tiny energy storage system. This storage system enables the contact lens to be continually charged but without creating any excess heat.

When tested on the rabbits and the one human subject, the lens did not cause any discomfort or limited field of vision in the 10 minutes that it was worn. Initial results are encouraging, but a large human trial has not yet been scheduled and more testing and development needs to be done before the smart contact lens can be made available to the public.*

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