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A newly designed contact lens makes incorrectly perceived pigments appear in more authentic hues.

By United with Israel Staff

A team from Tel Aviv University’s Nanoscale Electro Optics lab successfully altered the design of conventional contact lenses to offset color blindness. The findings were recently published in Optics Letters.

The researchers, under the supervision of Tal Ellenbogen, who co-authored the report, incorporated “metasurface elements into the surface of conventional contact lenses” to combat deuteranomaly, a hereditary form of color blindness that causes defective perception of red and green.

“Problems with distinguishing red from green interrupt simple daily routines such as deciding whether a banana is ripe,” team member Sharon Karepov said. “Our contact lenses use metasurfaces based on nano-metric size gold ellipses to create a customized, compact and durable way to address these deficiencies.”

Though there are commercially produced eye-glasses to combat this form of color blindness, they are cumbersome. The Israeli innovation is “ultra-thin and can be embedded into any rigid contact lens,” explained Karepov. “Both deuteranomaly and other vision disorders such as refractive errors can be treated within a single contact lens.”

Before this innovation was developed, gold nanostructures could be incorporated on flat surfaces only. The new contact lenses are able to withstand gold nanostructures on a curved surface.

“We developed a technique to transfer metasurfaces from their initial flat substrate to other surfaces such as contact lenses,” Karepov said. “This new fabrication process opens the door for embedding metasurfaces into other non-flat substrates as well.”

Testing of the product proved it shifts “incorrectly perceived pigments closer to their authentic hues,” according to the article in Optics Letters.

The results “showed that visual contrast lost due to deuteranomaly was essentially fully restored.”