Among the ways that people have to communicate with each other and to feel comfortable and secure in any given situation, seeing and hearing well are very highly valued. Experiencing a blurred vision is not only considered as annoying, but it also limits people’s freedom to alive various experiences, and it deteriorates their performance in many professional situations. This project responds to an important need of a large amount of people who suffer from not seeing sharply in some or all situations, by giving a perspective for a perfect restoration of their vision, thanks to an operation without any complications or side effects for their comfort or health.
The incidence of cataract diagnosis (40% and more) or reduced accommodative power (the large majority of people above 50 years old, about one third of the population) is substantial (e.g., over 64% of the U.S. adult population wear prescription eyeglasses). All these people would be substantially helped by a self-accomodating IOL. The IOL solutions offered by today’s technology is only partially satisfactory: no adequate solution is available yet for restoring the self-accomodation: most IOL implant users or people above 50 years old still need to use (additional) spectacles to be able to sharply read a text in a book or newspaper. Other non-accommodating solutions like pseudo-accommodative multifocal intraocular lenses have bothersome side effects like glare and halo’s, which can give dangerous complications in the case of night vision.
Till now, electro-optic accommodation of an intra-ocular lens has never been brought to practice. Indeed, the involved technological challenge is substantial, both from the technological and biomedical point of view. In this multidisciplinary project the innovative task of building a miniature bionic eye lens will be tackled by merging the expertise of the project partners in state of the art eye implant surgery techniques, metrology, novel biosensors, electronic miniaturization, pioneering wireless energy delivery technology, and advanced optics.
Till now, the developers of this project have worked out and cross-checked all functionalities of the device, going from the automatic assessment of the needed accommodative power at every moment in time (1), over the electro-optic control of the dioptric strength of the lens (2), till ways to supply energy to the device in a wireless way (3). There are also examples in technology on the market, in the scientific literature, and with the developers, of these individual functionalities. Simulations show that provided some adaptations and optimizations, merging the three functionalities is feasible with standard technology for making materials, electronics and optics. For part (1) the developers have already made a (not fully miniaturized) prototype. The miniaturization of 1,2,3 and the adaptation of 2 and 3 to an intra-ocular device are in the design phase.
0. Preliminary validations of conceptual ideas for strenghtening running patent application (submitted 12-07-2010). 1. Experimental validation of the envisaged feedback mechanisms for steering the accomodative power of the bionic lens according to the needs of the visual cortex. 2. Miniaturizing the electro-optic intra-ocular lens. 3. Minimizing the electric power consumption of the intra-ocular circuits, maximizing the electric energy storage capacity, and optimizing the wireless power supply. 4. Testing and optimizing the technical performance and biological compatibility of all parts in vitro and in vivo (test animals). 5. Transfer to clinical practice.
< 10 year(s)