Is the end in sight for reading glasses?
17 October 2015
A researcher is developing a new eye lens, made from the same material found in smartphone and TV screens, which could restore long-sightedness in older people.
As people age, their lenses lose flexibility and elasticity. This leads to a condition known as presbyopia, common in people over 45 years old, and can require optical aids, such as reading glasses.
Devesh Mistry, a postgraduate research student in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, is now working with liquid crystal to create a truly adjustable artificial lens. Using liquid crystals, lenses would adjust and focus automatically, depending on the eye muscles’ movement.
Mistry’s research is developing synthetic replacements for the diseased lens in the eye - a new generation of lenses and intra-ocular lens implants to rejuvenate sight. He aims to have a prototype ready by the end of his doctorate in 2018.
Within a decade, the research could see the new lens being implanted into eyes in a quick and straightforward surgical procedure under local anaesthetic.
Eye surgeons would make an incision in the cornea and use ultrasound to break down the old lens. The liquid crystal lens would then be inserted, restoring clear vision.
The lens could also have application in tackling cataracts - the clouding of natural lenses - which affect many people in later life and which can seriously affect vision. A common treatment is to remove and replace the natural lens.
Mistry is working in collaboration with the Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester and with UltraVision CLPL, a specialist contact lenses manufacturer headed up by two University of Leeds alumni.
His research builds upon previous work by the same collaborators, who developed a prototype contact lens with an electrically-controllable focus using liquid crystals.