Science & Technology

High-Tech Contact Lenses Correct Color Blindness

Color Blindness Correct Contact Lense Artists Concept

Researchers have included ultra-thin optical gadgets generally known as metasurfaces into off-the-shelf contact lenses to appropriate deuteranomaly, a type of red-green coloration blindness. The brand new customizable contact lens might supply a handy and comfy means to assist individuals who expertise varied types of coloration blindness.

“Issues with distinguishing pink from inexperienced interrupt easy each day routines resembling deciding whether or not a banana is ripe,” mentioned Sharon Karepov from Tel Aviv College in Israel, a member of the analysis crew. “Our contact lenses use metasurfaces primarily based on nano-metric measurement gold ellipses to create a custom-made, compact and sturdy solution to handle these deficiencies.”  

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Letters, Karepov and colleagues report that, primarily based on simulations of coloration imaginative and prescient deficiency, their new metasurface-based contact lens can restore misplaced coloration distinction and enhance coloration notion as much as an element of 10.

These photos illustrate the impact a metasurface-based contact lens would have on an individual with deuteranomaly. The left picture exhibits the unique situation whereas the center picture is how the scene would look to an individual with deuteranomaly. The picture on the precise represents the scene seen with deuteranomaly and corrected with the brand new contact lenses. Credit score: Sharon Karepov, Tel Aviv College

The method used to introduce new and tailor-designed functionalities to contact lenses may very well be expanded to assist different types of coloration imaginative and prescient deficiency and even different eye problems, in accordance with the researchers. 

Deuteranomaly, which happens principally in males, is a situation through which the photoreceptor answerable for detecting inexperienced gentle responds to gentle related to redder colours. Scientists have identified for greater than 100 years that this imaginative and prescient downside may be improved by lowering detection of the excessively perceived coloration however reaching this correction in a snug and compact gadget is difficult.

“Glasses primarily based on this correction idea are commercially out there, nevertheless, they’re considerably bulkier than contact lenses,” mentioned Karepov. “As a result of the proposed optical factor is ultrathin and may be embedded into any inflexible contact lens, each deuteranomaly and different imaginative and prescient problems resembling refractive errors may be handled inside a single contact lens.”

To unravel this downside, the researchers turned to metasurfaces — artificially fabricated skinny movies designed with particular optical properties. Metasurfaces made from nanoscale gold ellipses have been extensively studied previously few a long time and may be designed to realize particular results on the sunshine transmitted via them. Nonetheless, the researchers wanted a solution to get metasurfaces, that are conventionally made on flat surfaces, onto the curved surfaces of contact lenses.

“We developed a method to switch metasurfaces from their preliminary flat substrate to different surfaces resembling contact lenses,” mentioned Karepov. “This new fabrication course of opens the door for embedding metasurfaces into different non-flat substrates as properly.”

The researchers examined the optical response of the metasurface after each step of the brand new fabrication process and purchased microscopy photos to carefully look at the construction of the metasurface. Their measurements confirmed that the metasurface’s gentle manipulation properties didn’t change after switch to the curved floor, indicating that the method was profitable.

The researchers then used an ordinary simulation of coloration notion to quantify the deuteranomaly coloration notion earlier than and after introducing the optical factor. They discovered an enchancment of as much as an element of 10 and confirmed that visible distinction misplaced as a consequence of deuteranomaly was primarily totally restored.  

Though scientific testing can be wanted earlier than the contact lenses may very well be marketed, the researchers say that producers might embed the metasurface throughout the molding stage of contact lens fabrication or thermally fuse them to a inflexible contact lens. They plan to maintain learning and bettering the metasurface switch course of and check it for different purposes.

Reference: “Metasurface primarily based contact lenses for coloration imaginative and prescient deficiency” by Sharon Karepov and Tal Ellenbogen, 5 March 2020, Optical Letters.

Funding for the analysis was offered by the generosity of Eric and Wendy Schmidt by suggestion of the Schmidt Futures program.
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