Artificial lens mimics the human eye

Nov. 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM   |   Comments

CLEVELAND, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they've created an artificial lens that could lead to implantable lenses to replace damaged or diseased human eye lenses.

Nearly identical to the natural lens of the human eye, the technology behind the artificial lens is called "GRIN" or gradient refractive index optics.

The lens is made up of thousands of nanoscale polymer layers that bend, or refract, light by varying degrees as it passes through it.

"The human eye is a GRIN lens," Michael Ponting, a polymer scientist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said. "As light passes from the front of the human eye lens to the back, light rays are refracted by varying degrees."

"It's a very efficient means of controlling the pathway of light without relying on complicated optics, and one that we attempted to mimic."

GRIN optics may find use in miniaturized medical imaging devices or implantable lenses, the Optical Society of America reported.

"A copy of the human eye lens is a first step toward demonstrating the capabilities, eventual biocompatible and possibly deformable material systems necessary to improve the current technology used in optical implants," Ponting said.

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