Medical

Implantable LCD eye lenses may make glasses obsolete

Implantable LCD eye lenses may...
University of Leeds research student Devesh Mistry has developed a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness
University of Leeds research student Devesh Mistry has developed a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness
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Devesh Mistry, a postgraduate research student at the University of Leeds, has been conducting research on liquid crystal to produce a completely adjustable artificial lens for the eye
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Devesh Mistry, a postgraduate research student at the University of Leeds, has been conducting research on liquid crystal to produce a completely adjustable artificial lens for the eye
A prototype of an electrically switchable contact lens previously developed by the same group of collaborators
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A prototype of an electrically switchable contact lens previously developed by the same group of collaborators
University of Leeds research student Devesh Mistry has developed a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness
3/3
University of Leeds research student Devesh Mistry has developed a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness
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The potential for replacing aging or damaged eye lenses with artificial lenses that do more than just restore eyesight has long been recognized. With everything from telescopic capabilities to those with built-in heads-up displays, electronically-enabled synthetic lenses promise to bring useful cybernetic enhancements to the human body. In pursuit of this goal, one researcher at the University of Leeds is developing a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness.

Presbyopia, a condition that often occurs in people over the age of 45 years as the lenses in their eyes become stiffer and less flexible, means that many of us need reading glasses or contact lenses as we grow older. To help address this problem, Devesh Mistry, a postgraduate research student at the University of Leeds, has been conducting research on liquid crystal to produce a completely adjustable artificial lens designed to surgically replace presbyopic lenses.

A prototype of an electrically switchable contact lens previously developed by the same group of collaborators
A prototype of an electrically switchable contact lens previously developed by the same group of collaborators

"As we get older, the lens in our eye stiffens, when the muscles in the eye contract they can no longer shape the lens to bring close objects into focus," said Mistry. "Using liquid crystals, which we probably know better as the material used in the screens of TVs and smartphones, lenses would adjust and focus automatically, depending on the eye muscles’ movement."

Much like the common replacement of lenses in human cataract operations, Mistry believes that his new liquid crystal models would be implanted in the same way to rejuvenate the ability of the eye to focus. He also imagines that, within a decade, his research may result in the new lenses being implanted in a relatively simple surgical procedure where a small incision in the cornea would be made and then ultrasound used to destroy the old lens. This would then be removed and the new liquid crystal lens put in its place.

"Liquid crystals are a very under-rated phase of matter," said Devesh. "Everybody’s happy with solids, liquids and gases and the phases of matter, but liquid crystals lie between crystalline solids and liquids. They have an ordered structure like a crystal, but they can also flow like a liquid and respond to stimuli."

Devesh Mistry, a postgraduate research student at the University of Leeds, has been conducting research on liquid crystal to produce a completely adjustable artificial lens for the eye
Devesh Mistry, a postgraduate research student at the University of Leeds, has been conducting research on liquid crystal to produce a completely adjustable artificial lens for the eye

Recently presented with an Industrial Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Devesh's project will have continued funding as part of a range of on-going support of science and engineering research and industrial education throughout the United Kingdom.

"I'm thrilled that Devesh has won the RC1851 Industrial Fellowship," said Professor Helen Gleeson, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds. "This will support an excellent student working on an exciting project that involves optometry, physics and engineering, helping us to take our research ideas towards a practical device."

Working in collaboration with the Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester, Devesh is also participating in continued improvements to his device with UltraVision CLPL, a manufacturer concentrating on specialized contact lenses. As well, Devesh continues to research and develop his lens in the University of Leeds laboratory and says that he should have a working prototype completed by the time he finishes his doctorate in 2018. He believes that the first commercial liquid crystal lenses developed from his research may go on sale somewhere between six and ten years from now.

Source: University of Leeds

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4 comments
davgrn
I want it now
MerryMarjie
I had cataracts in both eyes removed last year then lens transplants, and now I can see clearly without glasses, except for reading when I need strong lenses. That is more than annoying, but seeing without glasses for the first time in my life since I was 10 years old? That is priceless. You cannot imagine it if you've never had a problem with your eyes, but it's like a miracle. I began to wonder why lenses weren't implanted to begin with, when I first was diagnosed as nearsighted (well, except for the dinosaur technology back then)? With all the years of glasses and contacts, and always having to worry about backup pairs and solutions and care for contacts and new prescriptions, it was really a hassle.
The new liquid crystals sound like a major development in "curing" bad eyesight, and I look forward to this advance in science being available for everyone. Thanks for the story.
SLB
@davgrn: check out Ocumetix -- they're working on something similar (though it doesn't use liquid crystals AFAIK) and appear much closer to approval and production.
Gizzyfuel
im sure everyone want to say this it be really neat if these lens could have man of steel eyesight .....X ray not for anything particular lol