For those of us old enough to remember television in the ‘70s the epitome of cool was the Six Million Dollar Man, Col. Steve Austin and his bionic enhancements. But what was once the purview of science fiction is inching closer to becoming an everyday reality, as optics specialist Eric Tremblay unveiled a unique contact lens that provides the user with telescopic vision. The lens was revealed in 2015 at the annual meeting of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Jose, California.
The new contact lens, a more advanced model of a prototype introduced in 2013, is 1.55 millimeters thick and features a very thin, reflective telescope, which allows the user to zoom in and out in literally a wink. The telescopic contacts are made with a rigid lens known as a scleral lens— larger in diameter than the more familiar soft contacts, but useful for special cases, such as for people with irregularly shaped corneas. Despite their size and stiffness, scleral lenses are safe and comfortable for special applications, and are an attractive platform for technologies such as optics, sensors, and electronics.