What Is Infrared Contact Lenses?

Infrared (IR), radiation has longer wavelengths than visible light. Like other forms of electromagnetic energy, it is emitted by objects when they heat up. Its rays cannot be seen by the naked-eye, but can be picked up with cameras and night vision glasses that paint a picture of the object based off different IR frequency. Several household appliances also emit IR energy such as your toaster oven and garage door opener.

University of Michigan engineers claim that a light sensor thin enough for a contact lens can allow people to see wavelengths of sunlight our eyes cannot detect. The ultrathin device is made of graphene, which is a single layer carbon atoms. It can detect the entire infrared range and some visible and UV waves. Scientists could only use graphene up to now for detection of high temperatures that can be harmful to the eye.

Researchers have developed an on-demand phototherapy system for diabetic retinopathy that is non-invasive and wireless. The contact lens has a micro-LED controlled by a specialized IC. The lens has a micro-LED controlled by an application-specific IC for on-demand phototherapy and is embedded in hydrophobic silicone elastomer contact lenses by thermal crosslinking.

The light was measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) on a commercial hygroscopic silicone elastomer contact lens with a surface modification with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane. The FTIR analysis confirmed the silicon elastomer’s functionality and safety to wear in a phosphate buffered saline environment.

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