Print 78 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Dec 10 at 4:16 PM

One of the lens recipients is examined by a specialist. The new type of artificial lenses endow patients with "super-vision", better than the best standard adult human vision.  (Source: Sky News)
The era of cybernetic superpeople appears to be finally taking off

From the popular PC game Deus Ex to movies like Robocop, a consistent theme in science fiction has been cyborgs, humans implanted with advanced technology to offer them superior abilities to traditional humans.  Such inventions haven't exactly taken off -- RFID implants are about as "cyborgish" as people have become of late.  However, a new medical procedure should re-excite those who dream of synthetic super-capabilities.

Doctors and medical researchers at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, a medical facility near Sussex in the UK, have completed the most advanced artificial lens implant to date and have endowed patients with vision better than the most able humans traditionally have.

The process to get "high definition" vision begins with the implantation of an artificial lens, using the standard procedure for cataracts.  Where as some lens implants are made of plastics PMMA or acrylic, the high tech lenses use special light-sensitive silicone.

Several days after the implant, doctors zap the lens with UV light, fine tuning it.  Over days, the lens is carefully tuned to overcome defects in the eye until patients have perfect vision.  A final blast of light fixes the lens in a final configuration.

The typical net result is that the recipients' vision significantly surpasses 20/20 sight, the best vision typically found in adults. 

Dr. Bobby Qureshi is the first ophthalmic surgeon in the UK to use the new lens and calls it "a hugely significant development".  Its not being used to give supervision to the masses quite yet, but rather is targeting patients with cataracts and long-sightedness, typically age-related conditions. 

Describes Dr. Qureshi, "We have the potential here to change patients' vision to how it was when they were young.  The change is so accurate that we can even make the lens bifocal or varifocal, so as well as giving them good vision at distance we can give them good vision for reading.  They won't need their glasses at all."

The patients are amazed at the results.  Gill Balfour, one of the first patients to receive the lens recalls how she used to have cataracts and other vision problems.  Now the world is a richer place for her.  She comments, "It's absolutely incredible. To think it's been tailor-made for you, matching any imperfections. It's the way forward, isn't it?"

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considering the alternative...
By Redwin on 12/4/2009 9:42:43 AM , Rating: 3
If you consider that lasic-style laser correction surgery is quite common these days, it seems like this should have no problem getting accepted.

Lasic can also end up getting you better than 20/20 sometimes, but in very rare cases it can also screw up your eyes pretty bad, and even when it works correctly, after 10 or 20 years your eyes change due to aging, but the correction from the surgery does not and many people end up needing glasses again.

With these lenses, you could just get new ones if your eyes changed more, and if they screw up while making your lenses, they could make you new ones without any harm to your eyes. Sounds to me like laser eye surgeons might need to start worrying :)

RE: considering the alternative...
By eetnoyer on 12/4/2009 10:45:24 AM , Rating: 3
There is already a similar technology out there for people who want vision correction but are scared by the possible side effects and permanance of LASIK. They're called Implantable Corrective (Collagen/Contact) Lenses - ICL. Last I checked, there were only two version approved by the FDA. I think one of them is called the Visian ICL, but don't remember the name of the other.

I've been looking into it myself, but it's just the last couple of years that it's started picking up and I'm not the early adopter type for body modifications. Plus the wife says I need to save a few more pennies. The nice thing is, once your prescription changes or you have unacceptable side effects, they can be removed or replaced.

By Spivonious on 12/4/2009 11:15:22 AM , Rating: 2
My dad got one of those lenses to replace his cataracted lense in his left eye. They even shaped the lense to correct his astygmatism, so now he has 20/20 vision in that eye without glasses, something he hasn't had for 35 years. All this with no lasers, and a 15 minute out-patient operation.

Technology can be pretty great.

By Hoser McMoose on 12/6/2009 5:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
Lasic can also end up getting you better than 20/20 sometimes

I just had LASIK a few months back and have since been tested at roughly 20/15 vision. The service came with a 'lifetime warranty' of sorts, so if my eyes change as I age they will re-do the procedure for free. This seems to be fairly common among the LASIK providers.

It wasn't cheap but it's the best damn $5,000 bucks I ever spent!

The one scenario where these lenses provide an advantage is that they can give you implantable bifocals. With LASIK it only corrects for myopia and therefore most people who get the surgery will need reading glasses in their 40's or 50's. These implanted lenses could potentially correct for both myopia and hyperopia, letting even older patients avoid glasses altogether.

RE: considering the alternative...
By Lerianis on 12/10/2009 4:14:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they have fixed that 'aging problem' with the latest type of Lasik or laser-eye correction that they do. My cousin's doctor GUARANTEED, with a money-back guarantee, that his eyes would not 'weaken' anymore than say to..... 20/10 from the 20/5 that his doctor managed to get them to.

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