Colorblind people see the world in muted shades, sometimes completely grey. Most colorblind people cannot see specific colors such as orange, red, purple, blue, green, brown, or a combination of those. Tinted glasses sometimes help but are not solutions for complete color correction or to eliminate blurry vision. Dyed contact lenses are currently in development to treat color blindness but are (so far) harmful and unstable.
Research published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Publication Nano shows promising results from infusing contact lenses with gold nanoparticles to correct color blindness.
Daily activities such as choosing a ripe banana, selecting matching clothes, stopping at a red light, or plugging in color-coordinated cords can be difficult for color blind people. With tinted glasses precisely the same color as the person’s deficiency, colors can show up more vividly. However, these lenses are bulky and cannot correct vision in terms of sight or depth.
Specially-tinted contact lenses have been recently invented to improve red-green color perception. They are effective in clinical trials; however, they leaked dye, which has led to safety concerns. Gold nanocomposites are non-toxic and have been used for centuries to produce “cranberry glass” due to the way they scatter light.
Ahmed Salih, Haider Butt, and colleagues incorporated gold nanoparticles into contact lenses to improve the red-green contrast safely and effectively. To make them, they mixed gold nanoparticles into a hydrogel polymer, resulting in rose-tinted gels that filtered light within 520 to 580 nm, the wavelengths where red and green overlap.
The most cost-effective contact lenses were those with 40 nm-wide gold nanoparticles. In tests, these did not clump or filter more color than necessary. Additionally, they had water-retention properties that mimicked commercial lenses and were also non-toxic to cells growing in Petri dishes.
Researchers directly compared the new material with two commercially available pairs of tinted glasses and their dyed contact lenses. The gold nanocomposite lenses were more selective in blocking wavelengths than the glasses. Also, they matched the wavelength range of the dyed contact lenses, which suggests the gold nanocomposites would be suitable for people who suffer from red-green color issues without safety concerns.
Clinical trials with human patients are the next steps to assess comfort.
To learn more, read the full journal article by the American Chemical Society.
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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.