What Is Infrared Contact Lenses?

Infrared (IR) radiation has wavelengths that are longer than visible light. It is also emitted when objects heat up. The rays of IR energy are invisible to the naked eye, but they are picked up by cameras or night vision goggles that create a visual representation of the object based upon different IR frequencies. Several household appliances also emit IR energy such as your toaster oven and garage door opener.

ANN ARBOR–A light sensor thin enough to fit into a contact lens could let people see wavelengths of light our eyes can’t detect, University of Michigan engineers say. The ultrathin sensor uses graphene – a single carbon layer that can sense all infrared waves, as well as some visible and ultraviolet ones. Scientists could only use graphene up to now for detection of high temperatures that can be harmful to the eye.

Researchers have developed a noninvasive, smart, wireless NIR light emitting contact lenses connected to an integrated circuit chip and wireless power systems, for on-demand treatment of diabetic retinal retinopathy. The lens has a micro-LED controlled by an application-specific IC for on-demand phototherapy and is embedded in hydrophobic silicone elastomer contact lenses by thermal crosslinking.

The light was measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) on a commercial hygroscopic silicone elastomer contact lens with a surface modification with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane. The FT-IR analysis confirmed that the silicon elastomer was fully functional and safe to wear in an aqueous environment of phosphate buffered saline solution.

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