if you are among the 8% of males or 0.5% of females with color vision deficiency (CVD), take heart. An economical wearable may be on the way. A team of researchers from Khalifa University (KU) and Imperial College London are collaborating on development of reusable and disposable contact lenses that enhance color perception. As was the case when we wrote about Enchroma’s frames and lenses that correct for CVD by separating the light frequencies, the KU and Imperial College solution addresses red-green color blindness only. As the researchers mention in their report published online ahead of print in ACS Nano, red-green color blindness is the most prevalent type of the congenital ocular disorder.

Current wearable solutions for red-green color blindness use organic dyes to filter various light color frequencies. The glasses are often bulky and expensive. The KU/Imperial College London team claim that studies that attempt to use organic dyes for CVD with contact lenses have had issues with effectiveness and toxicity.

The new approach for contact lenses to correct for color blindness integrates gold nanoparticles with contact lens materials. The team developed three different nanoparticles. They then joined the nanoparticles with the lenses’ hydrogel material. In initial testing the nanocomposite lenses performed as well as current CVD wearables, according to the team’s report. In addition, the nanocomposite lenses had better water retention and wettability characteristics than other contact lens CVD wearables available commercially.

According to the KU/Imperial College researchers, their work so far shows the potential of gold nanocomposite lenses for managing color blindness. The researchers have developed a prototype. They also recently signed a co-funded research agreement with Aldar Properties and Sadooq Al Watan to continue to develop disposable and reusable contact lenses to help people with CVD.