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3 new innovations in contact lenses

Here are three new ways researchers are making contact lenses more convenient for you

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contact lens

The latest in contact lenses

Leonardo da Vinci came up with a design for a contact lens more than 500 years ago. And contact lenses have been in regular use since the late 1800s, when they were made of glass and covered the whole visible part of the eye, not just the cornea. (Can you say ouch?) Here are some more recent innovations in contact lenses.

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eye drops

A drug-dispensing contact lens

Traditional eye drops prescribed for conditions such as glaucoma can be hard to administer, drip down the face or get washed away, and may deliver as little as one percent of their dose. Children’s Hospital Boston has created a prototype of a contact lens that secretes eye medication, making treatment much more effective.

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contact lens

A contact lens “washing machine”

No more finger rubbing to clean protein deposits off your contacts: A 39-year-old Canadian inventor now living in Taiwan has developed a tiny washing machine for cleaning contact lenses that does all the work for you. The Jitterbug contact lens case uses high-frequency sound waves to loosen deposits overnight. The case even has a digital day counter for disposable lenses. (The Jitterbug just became available in Canada at angelcontacts.com.)

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contact lens

Contact lenses with embedded electronics

A bio-nanotechnology expert at the University of Washington is working on a radio-frequency-powered contact lens with built-in, tiny electronic circuitry and LEDs. The hope is that a lens like this could be used one day to project images such as navigational cues and captions of translated speech onto the user’s vision. Sensors could even be built into the lens that could monitor blood glucose or cholesterol levels.

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