Some of us suffer from dry eyes because we stare at laptop screens for 10 hours a day. But for millions, dry eyes are a result of their lacrimal glands — the water-producing part of the tear ducts — simply not producing enough moisture. Now there is a high-tech fix.
Eye drops only provide temporary relief, so researchers, led by Stanford’s Michael Ackermann, have developed a small wireless implant called the Oculeve that stimulates the lacrimal glands to kickstart tear production.
The implant doesn’t actually provide a permanent fix to the patient’s condition, though. It instead provides on-demand relief with the user’s actual tears — made up of oils, water, proteins, and mucus — to ensure proper lubrication and protection to the surface of the eye. Eyedrops can provide similar relief when used, but simply aren’t as effective as the real thing.
The tiny implant can be powered using wireless induction charging techniques, and is designed to be injected under the skin using a needle either below the patient’s eyebrow, or within the nasal cavity. It’s controlled remotely, so all that’s needed is a push of a button to relieve dry eyes, and it’s already being tested in clinical trials in Australia, New Zealand and Mexico with intentions of the device eventually being commercialised the world over. So how long before Hollywood catches wind of this and realises it’s the perfect tool for creating emotional, tearful performances on cue? [Stanford Medicine via medGadget]