The Contact Lenses of the Future Will Improve Our Health
Scientists are developing contact lenses that will improve your health. It sounds like science fiction, but it's becoming science fact.
Soon, contact lenses that only correct your vision may be a thing of the past. Why not wear contact lenses that can also administer medication? Or choose a new set of lenses that can track the glucose level of your blood? Need eye surgery? No worries. Special contacts can speed up your recovery process.
We've done our research and it all checks out. Contact lenses are the next big thing in the future of healthcare.
Prescription Eye Drops Are Not Ideal
No one enjoys using eye drops to place medicine into their eyes, but the alternatives aren’t great either. You can ingest certain medicines, but for rapid and effective treatment, medicines need to go straight into the eye. One way to do this, is to grit your teeth and drip it in. Or you could endure an injection or surgical implant.
Age-related macular degeneration patients will soon have prescription eye drops for their treatment. This would be a great improvement over enduring intraocular injections. Doctors prescribe eye drops to treat eye diseases like glaucoma and keratitis. Glaucoma eye drop treatment reduces the eye's intraocular pressure and vision loss.
The main issue with eye drops is that treatment schedules are often long. As one study showed that only 54% of patients adhered to their treatment schedule!
This is where advancements in science come in.
Contact Lenses That Administer Medicine
Scientists are developing a better way to get medicine into the eye. The method? A drug-dispensing contact lens!
One such contact lens is a polymer film infused with medication. This film or nano-wafer is about one-twentieth the thickness of a regular contact lens.
These nano-wafers come with or without corrective power. So the center of the nano-wafer is clear and does not disturb the vision. This lens sits on the sclera as it dissolves over time, administering medication as it does so.
In one study researchers tested the nano-wafers on monkeys with glaucoma. The results indicated that although this lens had a lower drug dosage, it was as effective as eye drops. Human trials of drug-administering contact lenses could begin any day now. OccuMedic Inc plans to test their contacts on human subjects in late 2018.
Their lens contains anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and painkiller medicine. With this innovation, they also hope to hasten patients’ recovery after cataract surgery.
Contacts that could end the need for eye drops, allergy pills and painkiller capsules? Sign me up!
Contact Lenses That Monitor Glucose Levels
Contact lenses that can measure glucose levels are also in the pipeline. University of Maryland researchers developed a contact lens, made from a glucose-sensitive polymer. The material is durable, will not wash out of the eye, and can be easily removed.
Here’s how it works. You shine an eye-safe light onto the contact lens. A fluorescence signal then reveals the glucose level of the eye. This signal transmits to a detector near the light. Through electronic wizardry, the glucose reading goes to your smartphone. You can then send the result to your doctor.
More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. So for anyone who has to stab their own finger many times in a day to track their diabetes, this invention is a godsend. Glucose-monitoring contact lenses would make diabetes management easier and could also save lives. Glucose-tracking reduces the risk of vision loss, heart disease, stroke and premature death.
Contact Lenses That Treat Myopia
Myopia, often known as nearsightedness, is reaching epidemic proportions. In China, myopia affects about 90 percent of university students. This increased prevalence may be the result of excessive screen time and reduced time spent outdoors.
Slowing the progression of myopia improves vision. It also reduces the risk of more advanced eye diseases like glaucoma. So researchers are very interested in how we can use contact lenses to treat myopia.
Daily disposables or monthly overnight wear lenses can provide vision correction. But actually treating myopia involves wearing orthokeratology or ortho-k lenses overnight. These lenses reshape the curvature of the eye and can offer great results. But, these results are temporary and wear off through the day once you stop wearing the lenses.
Researchers are working on a soft contact lens that can permanently treat myopia. These lenses have a superior design that reduces the axial progression of myopia. It seems that new designs for myopia control contact lenses are being developed all the time!
Contact Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome
Ocular surface disease is a catch-all term for any disease that affects the surface of the eye. The most prevalent ailment in this group is dry eye syndrome, which can be mild or severe.
Dry eye is more common as we age. This illness affects an estimated 3.2 million women and 1.68 million men over 50 in the United States. Doctors usually treat dry eye with eye drops. But as we’ve said before, adherence to such treatment schedules is patchy at best.
In severe cases, dry eye can lead to blindness. Scleral lenses are generally used to treat dry eye syndrome. The lens covers a wider area of each eye and prevents debris from coming in contact with your eye’s surface. As a result, this reduces some of the irritation experienced from the condition.
The Future of Contact Lenses
As you can see, the potential uses of contact lenses in medicine are endless. Gone are the days when contact lenses only helped you to improve your vision. The contact lenses of the future are here! Well, almost here.
But until all these great innovations come to market, you can still check out the vast selection of contact lenses that are available today.