Scientists develop prototype contact lenses that allow wearers to zoom in and out

Although initially developed for military use, the lenses may help elderly people suffering from macular degeneration.

Scientists are developing new contact lenses that could give wearers superhero-like vision.

The revolutionary lenses would allow individuals to zoom in and out, but which may also offer hope to thousands of elderly people suffering from vision loss.

The prototype lenses, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s yesterday in San Francisco, contain tiny aluminium telescopes that would interact with a pair of specially designed glasses to allow you to toggle between normal and ‘zoomed in’ viewing.

The operating instructions tell users to wink the right eye to zoom and the left to zoom out.

The prototype lenses

The prototype lenses

The lenses, which were first developed with the US Defence Advance Research Projects Agency as super-thin cameras for aerial drones, have been retooled as a possible solution for those with age-related macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is when the light receptors on the inner surface of the eye are lost, resulting in blurred central vision. This can make performing normal talks – such as reading – next to impossible.

Eric Tremblay, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, said: “We think these lenses hold a lot of promise for low vision and age-related macular degeneration.