The Future of Contact Lenses

Recent advances in materials and technologies have led to some pretty amazing developments in the field of contacts including lenses for diabetics that monitor glucose levels in tears, lens-mounted biosensors that measure intraocular pressure in patients at risk for glaucoma, and drug-eluting contacts that deliver medications directly to the eye over a period of days or weeks. But according to researchers, there’s a lot more on the horizon when it comes to next-generation contact lenses.

The latest focus is on slowing and/or preventing the progression of vision defects. For example, at least two studies have shown that specially designed lenses could be effective at reducing the severity of nearsightedness (myopia) – a condition that is on the rise in children worldwide. Other designs are aimed at lessening the impact of age-related vision loss like degenerative retinal disease and extreme light sensitivity (photophobia) with the use of centrally red-tinted lenses. And, although still in the early stages of development, contacts with built-in “photonic modulation” are being evaluated for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder.

Clearly, the future of contact lenses is destined to go well beyond enabling people to simply see better.

For information: Lyndon Jones, University of Waterloo, Centre for Contact Lens Research, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1; phone: 519-888-4742; fax: 519-888-4303; email:; Web site: