Novel Dyed Contact Lenses to Treat Red-Green Color Blindness

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New study reported that dye tinted lenses can effectively improve color perception of people suffering from color blindness

Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) or color blindness is inherited genetic ocular disorder, which is characterized by difficulty in distinguishing certain colors. Certain products such as color filtering glasses are available in market to improve perception of affected individuals. However, these glasses are expensive and bulky. Researchers from the University of Birmingham developed a contact lens to correct certain kinds of color blindness using safe and low cost dye. The study was published on April 26, 2018, in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Previous research studies used gene therapy to generate new cones in the eyes of color-blind monkeys, while EnChroma sunglasses were developed to help correct vision problem. The new contact lenses developed by researchers are colored with a dye derived from rhodamine, which absorbs certain wavelengths of light between red and green. By blocking those wavelengths out, light is more readily absorbed by either the red- or green-sensitive cones or not both sets, allowing the patient to distinguish between colors.

As a part of study, effects of these colored lenses were examined on people suffering from red-green CVD. The dye was applied to a glass slide, and participants were advised to look through it at colored numbers on the other side. It was reported that patients were able to better identify the color and clarity of the numbers. “Contact lenses are of interest for color blindness correction because it is easier to correct the entire field of view,” said Haider Butt, lead researcher of the study. “The dye processing we carried out does not need any complex preparation, it is not toxic to the human eye, and our method could be easily used in both glasses and contact lenses at low cost.”

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