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Golden eye: contact lenses aid the colour blind

Patients with colour vision deficiencies may be able to see a wider range of hues by wearing hydrogel contact lenses infused with gold nanoparticles

contact lens
Pexels/Victor Rega
Researchers have highlighted the potential of contact lenses composed of a hydrogel polymer mixed with gold nanoparticles in helping those with colour blindness to see the world around them in enhanced colour.

The study, which was published in ACS Nano, highlighted that people who have difficulties telling the difference between red and green shades have used red-tinted glasses in the past to help distinguish the two colours.

However, the authors highlight that these glasses can be bulky and the lens material is not intended to fix vision problems.

The development of dyed contact lenses for colour vision deficiencies is limited by safety concerns about the leaching of dye from the lenses.

Gold nanoparticles are now being trialled in contact lenses as a non-toxic method of improving red-green contrast for wearers.

Experiments with prototype contact lenses confirmed that the gold nanoparticle lenses were more selective in the wavelengths they filtered than commercially available tinted glasses.

The nanoparticle contact lenses also matched the wavelength range of the dyed contact lenses.