New Development in Contact Lenses for Red-Green Colour Blindness Using Simple Dye

Source: University of Birmingham

Summary: Researchers have developed a contact lens that may help people with colour blindness simply by using a low-cost dye.

Colour blindness or colour vision deficiency (CVD) is an inherited genetic ocular disorder where some people have difficulty distinguishing certain colours. While no cure for this disorder exists, several methods have been used to increase the colour perception of those affected. However, current products on the market such as colour filtering glasses are expensive, bulky and incompatible with other vision corrective glasses. Normal colour vision is trichromatic this means any colour can be created by combining the colours blue, red and green. Researchers from the University of Birmingham have developed a contact lens that may help people with colour blindness simply by using a low-cost dye. The study findings were published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

colour vision deficiency

Credit: University of Birmingham

In this research, an inexpensive soft commercial contact lens was dyed with a non-toxic rhodamine derivative dye. This particular derivative of rhodamine was chosen as it is known for its ability to absorb certain wavelengths of light in the optical spectrum. Researchers found that the dye blocked the band that lies between the red and green wavelengths, which is perceived by two sets of corresponding optical cones simultaneously. The dyed lens was tested on people with red-green colour vision deficiency. The dyed contact lens was applied to a glass slide. The results verified that dye tinted lenses can be used to enhance the colour perception of people affected by colour vision deficiency.

Lead researcher, Dr. Haider Butt said, “Contact lenses are of interest for colour blindness correction because it is easier to correct the entire field of view. The dye processing we carried out does not need any complex preparation, it is not toxic to the human eye, and our method could be easily used in both glasses and contact lenses at low cost.”

More Information: Abdel-Rahman Badawy et al, “Contact Lenses for Color Blindness”, Advanced Healthcare Materials (2018). DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201800152 

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