A "smart" – although disturbingly alien-looking – contact lens offers help to glaucoma patients.
Alien contact lenses?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science
and on a new way for glaucoma patients to look REALLY cool at Halloween.
Glaucoma is a build-up of pressure inside the eye, and it's a leading cause of blindness worldwide. But biomedical engineers at the University of California at Davis recently developed a "smart" contact lens for glaucoma patients.
The lens doesn't correct vision. What it CAN do is MEASURE the pressure inside the eye.
The engineers started with an unusually elastic contact lens material called polydimethylsiloxane [poly-di-methyl-si-lox-ane], or PDMS. They added powdered silver in a precise pattern, to form a grid of conductive wires.
Together, the PDMS and the silver create an electromagnetic pressure sensor that relays data, like a Bluetooth device, to a computer. With that information, doctors can learn more about the patient's glaucoma and improve treatment.
The silver also has anti-microbial qualities, keeping the eye irritant-free. It also happens to be, well, SILVER. So it shows up as shiny hash marks on the wearer's eyes.
Which kind of rocks!
In a medical way, anyway.