Monday, July 1, 2013

A Telescope for the Eye: New contacts may improve sight for macular degeneration patients

That's the title of a press release describing new research from UC San Diego electrical engineering professor Joseph Ford, and UC San Diego electrical engineering PhD alumnus Eric Tremblay, who is now at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

The first paragraph of the press release:

Contact lenses correct many people's eyesight but do nothing to improve the blurry vision of those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the western world. That's because simply correcting the eye's focus cannot restore the central vision lost from a retina damaged by AMD. Now a team of researchers from the United States and Switzerland led by University of California San Diego Professor Joseph Ford has created a slim, telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision. With refinements, the system could offer AMD patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision. The team reports its work today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express.

Paper: "Switchable telescopic contact lens," E. Tremblay et al., Optics Express, Vol. 21, Issue 13, pp. 15980-15986 (2013). (

Images captured through the contact lens and mechanical model eye are shown. c) Outdoor image taken with model eye alone. d) Outdoor image taken with model eye and contact lens. This image shows why each of the two magnification states (normal and 2.8x) should be used one at a time: Here, neither section of the lens is being blocked by the glasses, and the result is an image with greatly reduced contrast. e) Outdoor image taken with just the magnified outer portion of the contact lens (2.8x).
Credit: Optics Express


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