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HomeARVO 2023'Tunable' Lenses Offer New Way to Correct Presbyopia

‘Tunable’ Lenses Offer New Way to Correct Presbyopia

For many farsighted people, having different pairs of glasses for different viewing distances has been the norm.

But with new technology, one pair of glasses could do the trick.

Adaptive liquid crystal lenses have led to the creation of glasses that are electrically tunable.

“When the lens is turned off, it has no optical function, and when it is turned on, it can be tuned to any relevant optical power,” researchers reported at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2023 Annual Meeting.

Sunglasses that use this technology have been developed and marketed by Deep Optics, a company in Petah-Tikva, Israel.

The product ― which has a list price of about $500 ― is meant for adults with presbyopia, or age-related blurry near vision, a condition that affects nearly everyone in middle age.

Ravid Doron, PhD, a clinical specialist with the company and a professor of optometry and vision science at Hadassah Academic College, in Jerusalem, presented data from a study that examined the power diopter obtained from six liquid crystal lenses, as measured by a manual lensometer.

The lenses consisted of a thin layer of liquid crystal materials between two glass substrates. Transparent conductors allowed researchers to control the voltage that was applied to the liquid crystal layer, and they activated the lenses to obtain specific powers from 0 to 2.5 diopters.

All six lenses gave similar readings. The difference between the set and measured power was 0.18 ± 0.07 D, which is “not likely to be clinically significant,” the researchers reported. “This suggests that the liquid crystal lenses could be used to create dynamic focusing glasses for presbyopia.”

The lens technology is similar to that used in liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), Doron told Medscape Medical News. Researchers are examining other characteristics of the lenses, such as transition speed, transmission, phase modulation quality, and precision, as well as subjective visual acuity and quality, visual perception, and user experience, she said.

Deep Optics’ first product, 32°N sunglasses, became available last year. The glasses, which Time magazine named one of the best inventions of 2022, have a reading function that wearers activate by swiping a finger on the side of the temple. Although these glasses currently do not require a prescription to be purchased, prescription versions are planned.

“It is desirable for doctors and other vision care professionals to be familiar with this technology and its capabilities, particularly the dynamic application of reading addition anywhere in the field of vision,” Doron said.

In the future, the company plans to introduce clear glasses and models with eye-tracking technology that automatically adjusts the lenses to the distance of interest.

Doron is an employee of Deep Optics.

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2023 Annual Meeting: Presented April 25, 2023.

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