Your mother may have warned you that too much screen time would make your eyes go funny, but materials found in the screens of smartphones and televisions could be used to create adjustable intraocular lenses for patients with presbyopia.
Postgraduate researcher Devesh Mistry, from the University of Leeds, is hoping to develop a new generation of liquid crystal intraocular lenses which would be able to flex and bend automatically. The new lenses could be used to replace the eye’s crystalline lenses which stiffen with age and are unable to change shape as easily, resulting in the associated accommodation issues.
“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,” said Mr Mistry.
The crystals share properties of both a solid and a liquid. They can flow like a liquid but can also set into a crystalline structure and also respond to stimuli, such as an electric current.
Working with industry and academic partners, including UltraVision and the University of Manchester’s Eurolens Research, Mr Mistry is currently researching and developing the lens, and hopes to produce a prototype by 2018.
The research builds on previous work using a liquid crystal contact lens which can change focus when an electric current is applied.
The group estimate that the first commercially available intraocular liquid crystal lens could be available in as little as six years’ time.
The work is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UltraVision.
Image credit: Minutemen