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A clear vision for the future of contact lenses

SEP 29, 2023
Technological and material advancements improve contact performance and future contacts could deliver medication or detect vital health indicators.
A clear vision for the future of contact lenses internal name

A clear vision for the future of contact lenses lead image

About 45 million Americans wear contact lenses to correct their vision. Since the introduction of the first rigid corneal lenses in the mid-20th century, contacts have undergone numerous improvements to increase biocompatibility, improve comfort, and reduce infection risk.

Xu et al. reviewed recent advances in contact lens technology and applications to provide insight into potential opportunities.

“Our eyes, as some of the most important, softest, and most sensitive organs in the body, naturally have extremely strict requirements for the material of contact lenses,” said author Jun Xu. “In the process of developing contact lenses, it is necessary to ensure the optimal visual quality of the wearer, as well as good comfort, while minimizing the side effects caused by complications.”

Anti-bacterial and anti-biofilm coatings help mitigate infection and allergen risk, while softer, breathable materials reduce discomfort.

Contact lenses can help with more than just vision.

“Special types of contact lenses, such as scleral lenses, play an irreplaceable role in treating diseases such as corneal irregularities and Sjogren’s syndrome,” Xu said. “The role of Ortho-k lenses and multifocal soft lenses in myopia prevention and control is increasingly recognized by ophthalmologists.”

Corneal contact lenses are promising for quick, direct drug delivery. They also show potential as biosensors, able to detect blood glucose and intraocular pressure, both possible warning signs for disease.

“This article provides a unique perspective on the function of corneal contact lenses in clinical applications, as well as the achievements and challenges that have been made to fully utilize this function,” said Xu.

Source: “Development of corneal contact lens materials and current clinical application of contact lenses: a review,” by Weichen Yuan, Fangkun Zhao, Xiaoyu Liu, and Jun Xu, Biointerphases (2023). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1116/6.0002618 .

This paper is part of the Biointerface Science in China Collection, learn more here .

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