Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Battery Powered Self-Moisturising Contact Lens

Researchers at Tohoku University, in Japan, have developed a smart contact lens that is self-moisturising to prevent dry eyes. The battery powered contact lens uses a special mechanism to maintain a layer of fluid between the eye and the lens. The team's research was recently outlined in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies


"Although there have been many recent advancements in new functions for smart contact lenses, there has been little progress in solving the drawbacks associated with wearing contact lenses day to day," says Professor Matsuhiko Nishizawa, an engineer at Tohoku University. "This is the first demonstration that EOF in a soft contact lens can keep the lens moist."


self-moisturizing contact lens
Illustration of a self-moisturising soft contact lens that supplies tears via electroosmotic flow from the temporary tear reservoir behind the lower eyelid. Credit: Tohoku University

From the Tohoku University article: "One of the biggest problems with contact lenses is they can cause "dry eye syndrome" due to reduced blinking and increased moisture evaporation. Dry eye syndrome can lead to corneal wounds and inflammation as well as a feeling of discomfort.

In order to tackle this important problem, the researchers developed a new mechanism that keeps the lens moist. The system uses electroosmotic flow (EOF), which causes liquid to flow when a voltage is applied across a charged surface. In this case, a current applied to a hydrogel causes fluid to flow upwards from the patient's temporary tear reservoir behind the lower eyelid to the surface of the eye."


Read more about the wearable gas sensor that monitors health and environment at Tohoku University.

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