People who have lost their eyesight due to cataracts have been getting lens implants to restore their sight for decades. According to a recent piece in Gizmag, a postgraduate research student at the University of Leeds named Devesh Mistry is developing an implantable lens that will address another age-related eye condition called presbyopia, also known as long-sightedness.
Presbyopia is a condition that strikes many people starting in their mid-40s when the lenses in their eyes start to get stiffer and less flexible. At the onset of their condition, doctors usually prescribe contact lenses and reading glasses to compensate.
The artificial lenses developed by Mistry uses liquid crystals, the same material that is used in the screens of televisions and smartphones. The liquid crystal lens would have the ability to adjust and refocus according to the movement of eye muscles, replacing the lost ability of the natural lens. Liquid crystal has a structure like a solid, but can flow and shift much like a liquid.
In about ten years, according to Mistry, people suffering from presbyopia would undergo a simple procedure to get their lenses replaced. No need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
MedPage Today estimates that over a billion people on the planet have presbyopia to one degree of another. Roughly half of the people with that condition lack access to corrective lenses. When Mistry’s corrective lens becomes available, the medical device industry will have an immense market for the implant. No doubt, the lens could also be used to treat other eye conditions, replacing the standard lenses used to treat cataracts, for example, due to its ability to focus.
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