Most of us take our vision for granted. As a result, we take the ability to read, write, drive, and complete a multitude of other tasks for granted. However, unfortunately, sight is not so easy for everyone. Indeed, for many people simply seeing is a struggle.
There are more than 285 million people worldwide who have vision problems. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 22 million Americans who are over age 40 have cataracts (the most common cause of vision loss in adults). By the time that they reach 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts, and severe vision problems as a result.
But now, people with vision problems may have new hope.
Soon, cataracts may be the thing of the past, and even better, it may be possible to see a staggering three times better than 20/20 vision. Oh, and you could do it all without wearing glasses or contacts. But what does having 3x better vision mean? If you can currently read a text that is 10 feet away, you would be able to read the same text from 30 feet away. What’s more, people who currently can’t see properly might be able to see a lot better than average.
This new development comes thanks to a new kind of bionic lens, the Ocumetics Bionic Lens. The lens is implanted in the eye via a saline-filled syringe that would place the bionic lens into the eye, where it would unravel itself in under 10 seconds. It sounds a little painful, but Dr. Garth Webb, an optometrist in British Columbia who invented the Ocumetics Bionic Lens, says that the procedure is identical to cataract surgery and would take just about eight minutes.
He adds that people who have the specialized lenses surgically inserted would never get cataracts and that the lens feels natural and won’t cause headaches or eyestrain.
However, if it sounds like a fairy tale (or Sci-Fi dream) it’s not. It is actually the end result of years and years of research and more than a little funding. Ultimately, the lens has taken nearly a decade to develop and has cost US$3 million (thus far). And there is still some ways to go before you will be able to buy them. The release date has been set for 2017, after extensive clinical trials have been completed on, first, animals and then humans.