Eyes And Lens Of The Future

Remember the popular Million Dollar Man series on television in the 70’s? Remember how Steve Austin, played by Lee Majors, had that bionic eyes which allowed him to see what’s happening in places even far beyond his eyesight? The series was, perhaps, the famous science fiction in the small screen at that time.

Now, with the ever advancing technology, scientists have come up with high-tech eyes although they may not be as close as those of the Million Dollar Man. Developed by the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of California, this artificial eye promises to restore the limited sight of people blinded by eye disease. Although still in the experimental phase, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis makes use of a tiny camera connected to a pair of glasses that emits signals to electrodes implanted in a patient’s eyes. The technology is a more advanced version of the previous artificial retina and will be fitted with 60 electrodes to give the blind more higher-resolution sight. Developers of Argus II have also disclosed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had given its go signal for a new clinical trial set to be conducted later this year 2007. The newest retinal prosthesis is aimed at the elderly patients aged 50 and above suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (hereditary) or macular degeneration – both eye diseases that lead to loss of vision. An estimated 25 million people worldwide have lost most or their entire eyesight due to such illnesses. Retinitis pigmentosa causes the gradual deterioration of retinal receptor cells eventually leading to loss of peripheral vision and color perception. Macular degeneration, meanwhile, causes damage to the retina’s center and leads to loss of central vision. This latest retinal device is expected to lead to faster implant and recovery as its size is only one-quarter of the original model. Members of the research team remain optimistic over this prosthesis although it does not fully guarantee the restoration of a patient’s original eyesight.

From the human eye, we now turn to the latest development on lens used in small mobile devices. And just to let you know, this lens is not the solid type but a liquid one. You heard it right, it’s the Varioptic oil and water lens created by a small French firm that used the “electrowetting” process. The truth is, Varioptic has began delivering these liquid lenses to their thousands of partners to be used in the digital cameras of cellular phones. The French company also expects their product to be used in low-end digital cameras, medical and industrial applications as well as in automotive and biometrics identification applications. Liquid lenses are believed to more advanced compared to their mechanical counterparts because of faster response, superb optical quality, low energy consumption and wide operating temperature range.

So what does this all prove? That humans were created to be the most intelligent of all earth’s creatures capable of inventing technology meant to help cure illnesses and aid in man’s pursuit towards intellectual advancement. This does not stop here though because as man continues to think and experiment, more technology will be created hopefully for the betterment of the human race.

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