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Azalea Vision performs first on-eye test of smart contact lens

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3 min read

Azalea Vision announced it has successfully completed the first on-eye test featuring its functional, proprietary smart contact lens prototype.

Let’s start with this company.

Founded in 2021 as a spinoff of Ghent University in Belgium, Azalea Vision is a medical device manufacturer focused on developing versatile smart contact lenses featuring an active light management (ALMA) system for patients with various ocular disorders.

What kind of ocular conditions?

Multiple visual challenges including:

  • Presbyopia
  • Keratoconus
  • Light sensitivity

Now this contact lens.

Per Azalea, the ALMA lens features an embedded diaphragm—with an aperture operating as a light filter—and proprietary, liquid-crystal technology that enables easy user customization and adaptability by both patients and clinicians.

Also included are a medical grade micro-battery, microchip, radio frequency (RF) antenna, and a configurable light control.

How does this differ from a standard contact lens?

The ALMA system is designed to adjust the brightness of incoming light automatically and dynamically based on a user’s needs, all while functioning as a traditional lens.

The goal: to improve patients’ quality of life (QOL) by minimizing light sensitivity and increasing visual acuity.

So who was it tested on first?

Azalea Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Co-Founder Andrés Vásquez Quintero—also the prototype’s inventor.

The ALMA was successfully placed on his left eye. Watch the video below for a visual.

YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/fC0_JM-T7e8

So which condition is this being tested on next?

The company reported it will next be testing the lens on patients with irregular astigmatism due to keratoconus and other corneal irregularities.

The intent is to ensure that the lens correctly filters out peripheral light in order to “allow only focused light to reach the retina,” the company stated.

Gotcha. And how is ALMA expected to help presbyopia wearers?

Per Alzea, the ALMA’s diaphragm creates a small aperture to enhance depth of focus (DOF) and enable greater clarity in a user’s near vision, minimizing the need for reading glasses.

How about light sensitivity?

The lens targets two types:

  • Photophobia
    • Dynamically adjusts the aperture to varying light conditions for more visual comfort in different lighting environments
  • Iris disorders
    • In cases of aniridia or coloboma, ALMA acts as a functional iris to regulate light and focus for an improved visual experience

Significance?

Per Quintero, his successful testing of ALMA “marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of non-invasive treatment options for challenging ophthalmological conditions.”