Contact lenses coated with graphene might bring about a new era for wearable devices, monitoring our health, protecting our eyes from electromagnetic radiation and loss of moisture.
Various research centres are working on electronic contact lenses offering different capabilities from blood sugar levels detection to augmented reality. However, as Korean experts from Seoul National University point out, such applications result in exposure to electromagnetic radiation, potentially harmful to the cornea and other ocular tissues. Contact lenses coated with graphene eliminate this risk, Byung Hee Hong, the leader of the research team, claims.
Graphene is transparent, flexible and biologically inert, which makes it uniquely useful as a contact lens coating. During initial experiments, contact lenses covered with a layer of graphene managed to protect an eye-like object from strong electromagnetic radiation produced by a microwave for as long as 50 seconds. In addition, the researchers proved the lenses’ effectiveness in retaining moisture.
At the moment, the scientists are collaborating with a contact lens manufacturer and planning clinical trials to prove the lenses’ safety and obtain marketing clearance. According to Mr Hong, graphene-coated contact lenses should be available by 2020.