You’ve always wanted super-sight like Superman. Imagine being able to read the fine print on the contract the used car salesman pushes in front of your face. You have macular degeneration (we already wrote about macular holes, macular pucker and esotropia), or some other type of vision disorder, that makes it difficult for you to decipher some types of small text. Fear not. There’s a contact lens now in development that may be able to turn your eye into a telescope.
New Telescoping Lenses
It used to be that contacts were made solely for those with myopia (nearsightedness). A contact lens changes the way light enters the eye. In a normal contact lens, light passes through the corrective medium (the lens) and pushes the image back onto the retina where it belongs. For nearsighted individuals, the entire world in front of their face is blurry.
That’s because, beyond a certain distance, the light entering the eye isn’t able to be projected onto the retina, where images are “decoded” by the brain. The shape of the eye, in a nearsighted person, is elongated – this is what causes light to be focused in front of the retina and thus objects appear blurry. Any contact lens, including those purchased from online retailers, like www.lenstore.co.uk, can be custom-designed for an individual’s degree of nearsightedness.
The lens itself is pretty thin, and alters the way light enters the eye. With these new telescoping lenses, an additional degree of “fine tuning” can be accomplished.
Using tiny aluminum mirrors, the lenses are capable of giving the wearer enhanced vision beyond what would normally be capable of a human eye, even one corrected with traditional contact lenses.
Wearers can switch between and normal 20/20 vision and magnified vision that is 2.8 times as strong as normal vision. The lenses use a paired set of modified 3-D television glasses. A button on the glasses changes its polarization. The polarized filters on the contact lenses determine whether the light should pass through the normal part of the lens or the magnifying part.
Obviously, this kind of technology has a wide range of potential uses. The most obvious use is for military. Imagine scouts being able to see ultra-long distances without the use of additional bulky gear. It could also be used for long-range shooting.
In the commercial market, individuals with severe macular degeneration may be able to see text again without having to carry around a magnifying glass. But the technology isn’t just limited to military and the disabled. Ordinary individuals might find “supervision” helpful in their daily lives.
Hunters may want the tech to help them do a better job of tracking. Kids may want to use it for more “altered reality” video games that take advantage of the physical world for fun and pleasure. Private detectives, police, and even technology companies like Google and Apple might want to make sure of telescopic lenses for enhanced mobile computing.
There is only one major concern at this point: comfort. In order to make the lens telescoping, it needs to be 10 times as thick as a traditional contact lens. This may prevent it from being practical in applications where extended wear is expected. However, this may also be just a temporary bump in the road. Remember when computers were the size of entire rooms? Now, they can fit in the palm of your hand. This may be just the beginning of technologically enhanced sensory organs.