Researchers develop dyed contacts to correct color blindness

Researchers have developed contact lenses that use dye to help correct color blindness. The process involves a low-cost rhodamine derivative non-toxic dye, potentially opening the door for inexpensive solutions compared to existing glasses alternatives. Initial tests with color blind individuals have been performed and were promising, and now patient studies are in the pipeline.

The contacts were recently detailed by the University of Birmingham, which acknowledges that existing color-correcting glasses and lenses are already available, but they tend to be expensive, sometimes ranging into hundreds of dollars. In contrast are these newly developed contacts, which feature specific dye that aims to treat different varieties of color blindness.

Red-green color vision deficiency (CVD) is the most common type of color blindness; the dyed contacts were tested specifically for this variety of the disorder. The dye works by blocking a specific band of light that exists between green and red wavelengths, according to the researchers.

By doing this, the cones in the patient's eyes that detect red and green bands won't be simultaneously triggered. As a result, color blind individuals wearing these contact lenses are better able to distinguish between green and red colors.

To test this, researchers used the dye on a glass slide and had participants look through the glass. Lead researchers Dr. Haider Butt said:

We are now looking into using a similar process to correct purple-blue color blindness, and also to bring together a number of dyes to make lenses perform for both red-green and purple-blue color blindness simultaneously. We are about to commence human clinical trials shortly.

SOURCE: University of Birmingham