Contact lenses that breathe (2000)
New contact lenses that breathe mean that you can leave them in not just for a day, but a whole month.
While contact lenses mean an end to wearing glasses, they have a major drawback. Taking them out to go to bed at night, and putting them back again in the morning. And the reason you need to do this is because eyes need oxygen.
“Oxygen is very important for the health of the eye. So normal contact lenses, if they are left in over night can lead to damage of the cornea”.
But now there’s a new contact lens developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Eye Research and Technology that can be left in for 30 days. A team led by Dr. Gordon Meijs, from Australia’s science organisation, CSIRO, helped develop a new type of polymer, or plastic, for the long life lenses. They are made from fluoro sciloxane, which transmits up to six times more oxygen than the plastic used in normal contact lenses.
“The lenses are like a sponge. They transmit oxygen through the lens to the surface of the eye and that is what keeps the eye healthy.”
These new lenses, made with the new plastic that breathes, means that the longwearing contact lenses, marketed as Focus Night and Day, can be left in for 30 days and nights.
Currently, around 80 million people around the world wear contact lenses, compared to 2.7 billion who wear glasses. So it’s expected these new easy to wear lenses will capture a much wider market, giving Australian science a bonanza in royalties for further eye research.