Last March, I provided readers with an inside view of this revolutionary intra-ocular lens under development. The Bionic Lens has continued to garner international interest and left many anxiously requesting further information. Recently, its founder, Dr. Garth Webb of Ocumetics Technology, was kind enough to spend some time with me to provide an update, having just reached another milestone amongst a multitude of engineering design improvements. He equates transitioning the lens to the mass-production process in this manner, ‘it’s like designing the first functional model T car and withholding introduction until you have a 2017 Ferrari’.
He reports that over the last year, animal study results have now firmly established the ability of this lens to achieve superior vision in normally-sighted eyes, as he had first projected. Elaborating further, Dr. Webb reveals that the Bionic Lens is designed so that the front (or anterior) portion of the lens serves as a ‘docking station’ that can be precisely loaded with micro-optics and customized for each patient’s eye. This will allow for the very finest of refinements to be instituted at any time without any sacrifice to the health of the eye. It is the ability to ‘fine tune’ a patient’s vision post-operatively that is just one of the unique advantages of this lens design.
Beyond optics for precise vision, the docking station of the Bionic Lens is also being developed to allow for the installation of communication technology and the potential for physiological therapy. Regarding its technological potential, a projection system installed in the docking station would allow a stabilized image to be projected onto the retina. This concept, Dr. Webb confidently states, ‘will take virtual reality to its completion.’
Dr. Webb anticipates that human studies will begin in 4 months’ time with initial clinical trials at accredited research facilities throughout Canada, US, and Europe. These trials will involve patients with cataracts who otherwise have ‘healthy’ eyes.
After that, his team is optimistic that in approximately one year, the Bionic Lens will be brought forth to the public under use as an ‘investigational device’ by qualified surgeons. Dr. Webb envisions a future where the Bionic Lens and other advanced technologies will be available at ‘Centres for Excellence’, places developed by other globally-minded individuals. It is truly an exciting time to be a part of …the future of vision.
In my upcoming part 2 blog of the Bionic Lens Update, I will answer specific questions received from my readers over the last year regarding anticipated costs, prescription issues as well as complicated cases that may or may not be eligible for this procedure.