Swiss researchers have tested contact lenses that can magnify objects to nearly three times with a wink.
A prototype was unveiled by Eric Tremblay from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in California on Friday.
Five people have tested the device so far, which is activated by a wink from the right eye and deactivated by a wink from the left.
The project was funded by US military research arm DARPA, which originally intended the lens to be used by soldiers to give them “bionic vision”.
Now they hold a lot more promise for people with poor vision and in particular, those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The lenses are 1.55mm thick and contain an extremely thin, reflective telescope which can magnify 2.8 times.
“Small mirrors within bounce light around, expanding the perceived size of objects and magnifying the view, so it’s like looking through low magnification binoculars,” the researchers said in a statement.
In their current form, they can only be worn for 30 minutes, as they do not allow oxygen to pass through to the eye.
“At this point this is still research, but we are hopeful it will eventually become a real option for people with AMD,” Tremblay said.
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