If you suffer from hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness or longsightedness, you may be interested to know that the world's first contact lens to correct the condition has been developed. The correction, however, is temporary – a custom-made lens is worn overnight to reshape the cornea, and when the patient wakes up and removes the lens they have perfect vision for the day.
The contact lens works via a process called orthokeratology, or ortho-K.
The rigid, gas-permeable contact lens applies pressure to the tear film that coats the outside of the cornea. This pressure changes the shape of the cornea by about 20 µm, or about half the width of a strand of human hair.
The lens was designed by Jaume Pauné, a graduate of the Master's Degree in Optometry and Vision Sciences at the College of Optics and Optometry of Terrassa of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)-Barcelona Tech.
Pauné began experimenting with the hyperopia lens following a conference in 2005 where another ortho-K lens was presented, but never marketed. Pauné's thesis involved the research, design and manufacture of a new model to correct hyperopia. He tested it on ten people, one of whom tried six different models of the lens, each for a period of one week.
The lenses are being sold at an initial price of US$1,270, which includes the cost of designing unique lenses, and $508 for annual replacement lenses.
Those of us afflicted with shortsightedness can only hope for something similar in the future!