A very serious condition that affects our eyesight as we grow older is age-related macular degeneration, more commonly known as AMD. This condition affects the macula, which forms a tiny part of our eyes’ retinas. Basically, the macula is the part that’s responsible for our central vision – it’s what allows us to focus on the bull’s-eye on a dartboard or to thread a needle. People with AMD usually experience dark areas, blurriness, or distortion in their central vision. This condition is one of the leading causes of blindness all over the world with very limited options for treatment until now.


Because magnifying a person’s vision is a proven method to counter the effects of AMD, scientists are developing smart contact lenses embedded with tiny mirrors and filters which enhance and magnify vision up to three times. The lenses are designed to allow more light into the eye, improving the eyesight of those with AMD.

The lenses also come with a key innovation. Combined with a special pair of battery-powered glasses, the user also has the ability to switch between standard vision and normal vision on demand. The glasses make use of a type of LCD technology that tracks eye movement, allowing users to zoom in and out as they please through a simple wink. This feature is necessary to make the smart lens and glasses combination more suitable for daily life, as users will still be able to make use of their peripheral vision which is rendered useless with magnification. With this users will be able to do daily activities, such as safely crossing streets, as they’ll be able to see oncoming cars through their peripheral vision, and then zoom in on the indicator on a pedestrian stoplight.

The smart lenses are currently in the trial stage, with a handful of people trying them out mainly to see if the lenses are comfortable to wear. The majority of the tests are conducted in a lab using a model chemical eye.

15 Comments
  1. Awesome, actually glad to read technology is being put to good use. I know those glasses are on a trial, but so far it sounds very promising. It was about time they invent smart glasses! Finally something that is actually useful, I was getting so tired of reading about those ”innovative” gadgets that cost a ton of money and don’t really offer a real benefit… unlike smart glasses, of course!

  2. Wow, these look awesome. I’m quite sure that my eyesight will go pretty kaput when I get older after spending quite a bit of time in front of computer screens, as will many others around my age. I hope by the time we have to worry about it, any kinks in the design of these will all be ironed out, because these will be seriously useful.

  3. Awesome. I’ve never actually thought of that. It’s amazing how they’ve gotten this intelligent and made smart lenses, to see better. I think it’s going to help a lot of people and I’m really glad they’re working on it. I know for sure that people who struggle with sight are prone to blindness due to bad lenses, and improving on them can reduce the risk.

  4. Wow! Great article. I have never heard about this before. I am older and although I don’t have any particular eye health problems, I do get sick and tired of my contacts being too blurry for driving and my eyeglasses too blurry for computer work and so on and so forth. Yes, I’ve had a recent eye exam and this is the best they can do for me!

    I hope the scientific community can come up with some really good solutions to fix all the eye issues that coming with general aging. 🙁

    • I completely agree with you on all of these points, they’re really something to actually look forward to and be impressed at.

  5. From a student perspective who wears glasses and plans to upgrading to lenses, this is beyond awesome. I find myself a lot of time in front of the computer, in and out and in the future, my eyesight will probably be poorer than it is now. Seeing this really brights my day. Go science!

    • I’m excited about it too. I first started wearing glasses in my final year at college and I’m pretty sure that computer use was the main cause so like you, I am concerned about further deterioration.

  6. Great idea! We don’t know just what the long term effects of extended VDU use really are right now – it’s still to early to say but I am certain that it causes eyesight to deteriorate more quickly. Innovations like these lenses are bound to come in handy!

  7. As someone who suffers from myopia and has to wear glasses often, I’m worried about my vision several decades down the road. To hear of such treatment for macular degeneration is really relieving, hopefully it’ll be primed and ready by the time I get it!

  8. Yes, It’s definitely time for this type of invention to hit the market. I feel since it being that AMD is so prevalent, these smart lenses should be more readily available for everybody. Especially elderly people who are now suffering can have their situation relieved by these special lenses.

  9. This is great, specially the ability to zoom in, how cool is that?! Now anyone can have supervision with these lenses. I would definitely get one of these, depending on the price though, regular lenses are already kind of expensive, imagine these. Either way it’s still impressive technology, hope this gets somewhere.

  10. The technology is amazing, for sure, but I have to question if it’s a wide-ranging solution or not. As it stands, popular surgeries such as Lasik aren’t the magic solution the industry claims it is, as there are cases of advanced astigmatism out there that defy the surgery, not to mention nearly countless other conditions that would get no benefit from going under the knife.

    More importantly, can these lenses be developed into a permanent solution? I’d much rather undergo surgery to implant the lens in my eye than deal with fancier, finickier contacts for the rest of my life.

  11. This is a very innovative use for technology and it is nice know it is being worked on. AMD is so common it seems. I hope these lenses will become available for everybody that needs them. I would prefer a strictly medical approach to cure the problem but this is still a step in the right direction. It’s nice to read about something that isn’t just another vanity gadget.

  12. This is great, It’s amazing to hear that people’s lives can be improved in such a drastic way with those! On the other hand, I have been using glasses for 18 years now and I have always been scared to death to contact classes and as for me, they look absolutely terrifying. I really hope that they are actually comfortable and accessible to everyone who needs them.

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