Restoring Vision For Seniors: PhD Student Creates Liquid Crystal Lens

As we age, along with our skin and other significant body parts, the lenses in our eyes lose flexibility and elasticity. This leads to a condition known as Presbyopia that is very common in people over the age of 45, and usually requires optical aids to correct. In addition, when lenses cloud, cataracts often form which can also lead to visual problems for the aging population.

Devesh Mistry, a brilliant PhD student from the University of Leeds has created a liquid crystal lens  (developed form the same liquid crystal material used to create smart phones, computer monitors and television screens) that depending on eye muscle movement, has the capacity to adjust and focus automatically. This lens can replace a diseased one and in doing so restore vision and eliminate the need for reading glasses. While electronically-enabled synthetic lenses aren't new, Devesh Mistry has gone one  step further with the development of his unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens.


Liquid Crystal LensLiquid Crystal Lens


How do these special lenses work?

The rigidity in the eye caused by presbyopia means the muscles cannot effectively bring long-range objects into view. According to Mistry, lenses comprised of liquid crystals could be implanted in the same manner as cataracts. This entails surgeons making an incision in the cornea and utilizing ultrasound to collapse the old lens. By inserting the liquid crystal lens, clear vision is restored as the new lenses automatically adjust themselves to prompts emanating from the eye muscles.

Who is Devesh Mistry?

Indian-born Devesh Mistry is a Soft Matter Physics post graduate research student in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. A young man of many interests, Devesh is as much at home in the lab as he is on the squash court, indulging in photography and creating diverse culinary delights.


Devesh At WorkDevesh At Work

His current research in developing an electrically controlled focus lens made with liquid crystals is a collaboration with optics manufacturer, Ultra Vision CLPL and Eurolens Research at Manchester University.The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has funded the research, which is built upon the previous work of these collaborators who did develop a contact lens using liquid crystals.

A prototype is expected to be ready by 2018, which marks the end of Mistry's doctorate degree. For his incredible achievements, he has  been awarded  the prestigious Industrial Fellowship from Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, which is granted to support science and engineering research and industrial education across the United Kingdom.


Implanted LensImplanted Lens

The future of the liquid crystal lens

According to Mistry, the first commercially available  liquid crystal lenses could be on sale by the end of the decade. This could mean that the implantation preocedure, whcih could be don eunder a localanesthetic, might be ready by 2025.

Hey, Devesh, in the words of one Hollywood immortal, "here's looking at you, kid!"

Do you think the time will come when no one on the planet will ever need eye glasses or contact lenses?

Closing thoughts on vision:
Where there is no vision, there is no hope. ~ George Washington Carver