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Are bionic lenses the solution for perfect vision?

Everyone knows someone who wears glasses. Most of us have a least one person in our family who has always worn them. While the exact number of people who require vision care is difficult to estimate, according to the Vision Council of America, about 75% of adults use some form of vision correction – 64% wear glasses and 11% wear contacts.

In Canada, “approximately half a million Canadians are estimated to be living with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life, and every year more than 50,000 Canadians will lose their sight,” says the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

However, a new technology may be able correct your vision and at the same time give you vision three times better than 20/20.

The Ocumetics Bionic Lens

Optometrist Dr. Garth Webb in British Columbia has people with vision issues excited. He claims his new invention, a bionic lens, has the capacity to give people perfect vision and it could render progressive contact lenses obsolete, regardless of how poor a person’s vision is currently.

“This is vision enhancement that the world has never seen before,” Webb says to the Vancouver Sun. He adds that “if you can just barely see the clock at 10 feet, when you get the Bionic Lens you can see the clock at 30 feet away.”

Here are the basic details of the lenses:

  • The lens resembles a tiny button
  • The implantation process takes about eight minutes
  • The lens is customized for your eye
  • You are at no risk of developing cataracts

Dr. Vincent DeLuise, an opthamologist who teaches at Yale University and Weill Cornell Medical College, confirms that the reaction among professionals has been positive: “There's a lot of excitement about the Bionic Lens from very experienced surgeons who perhaps had some cynicism about this because they've seen things not work in the past. They think that this might actually work, and they're eager enough that they all wish to be on the medical advisory board to help him on his journey.”

"I think this device is going to bring us closer to the holy grail of excellent vision at all ranges — distant, intermediate and near.”

What are the main causes of vision issues?

The main cause of vision issues among Canadians is what is known as age-related macular degeneration, and it impacts about 1.4 million Canadians, according to CNIB.

Other major causes of vision loss include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Refractive errors
  • Diabetic retinopathy

Vision loss is expected to increase by close to 30% over the next decade, making the bionic lens a welcome and potentially life-altering discovery for many Canadians.

Pending clinical trials, the bionic lens could enter the Canadian market within the next two years.