Researchers have developed novel contact lenses to help correct various forms of colour blindness, an advance that may lead to new clinical recommendations for the condition in which people have reduced ability to distinguish between certain colours.
In the study, published in the journal Optics Letters, the scientists incorporated ultra-thin optical devices known as meta surfaces into off-the-shelf contact lenses to correct deuteranomaly – a form of red-green colour blindness.
According to the scientists, including those from Tel Aviv University in Israel, in deuteranomaly, the photoreceptor cells in the eyes’ retinas responsible for detecting green light responds instead to light associated with redder colours.
“Problems with distinguishing red from green interrupt simple daily routines such as deciding whether a banana is ripe,” said Sharon Karepov from Tel Aviv University in Israel, one of the co-authors of the study.
“Our contact lenses use meta surfaces based on nano-metric size gold ellipses to create a customised, compact, and durable way to address these deficiencies,” Karepov said.
Based on simulations of colour vision deficiency, the scientists said that their new meta surface-based contact lens can restore lost colour contrast, and improve perception.
The researchers used meta surfaces made of ultra small gold ellipses and transferred them onto the curved surfaces of contact lenses.
When the scientists used a standard simulation of colour perception to quantify the deuteranomaly perception before and after introducing the meta surfaces, they found that the visual contrast lost due to colour-blindness was almost fully restored.
However, they said clinical testing is needed before the contact lenses could be marketed.