A contact lens to prevent dry eye

Blinking stimulates tear flow through microchannels within the prototype contact lenses

Contact lens on finger
Pixabay/Martin Slavoljubovski

Researchers from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) have developed a prototype contact lens that aims to prevent dry eye disease through the use of microchannels.

The technology, which is described in the scientific journal Small, involves the stimulation of tear flow through the motion of blinking.

The tears are delivered through microchannels within the contact lens from the pre-lens tear film to the post-lens ocular surface.

As part of the research, scientists used a system that mimics human blinking to assess whether tears would flow through the microchannels in the contact lens.

They highlighted that the experiments illustrated the feasibility of using contact lenses incorporating microchannels to prevent or minimise contact-lens induced dry eye.

Further experiments could be developed to test the prototype contact lens with animal models of dry eye and in patients.

Director and chief executive of TIBI, Ali Khademhosseini, shared his hope that the technology would progress to fruition.

“The inventive methods that our team has employed bring a potential solution for millions of people,” he said.