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Automatically Darkening Contact Lenses on the Horizon

 - Nov 17, 2009
References: technologyreview
We’ve all seen the sunglasses that magically darken in the presence of light; those glasses are coated with a substance that reacts to Ultraviolet (UV) Light. While this technology is tried and true on larger surfaces like lenses, it does not work well on smaller, flimsy surfaces like contact lenses.

As a result, contact lens wearers have had to settle for one of two solutions: tinted lenses or sunglasses worn over the contacts. Unfortunately, both of these solutions have drawbacks, or defeat the reason for wearing contacts in the first place.

Enter Jackie Ying, director of the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore. Dr. Ying has developed a technique for embedding UV sensitive dyes into the flimsy lenses as opposed to coating them. The lenses behave just like their exteriorly worn counterparts. They darken in the sunlight, and go back to clear when the wearer is out of the light: automatically darkening contact lenses.

No muss, no fuss. The eyes have it.