New Gel May Replace Contact Lenses - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/8/03

New Gel May Replace Contact Lenses

Wouldn't it be nice to put your contacts in and just keep them there forever? Scientists are working on something that could be almost that easy.

It's actually a gel that is injected into the eye to replace the lens in the eye. You see, as we get older, our lenses harden and can't focus as well, which is why most people end up needing glasses in their forties.

The gel lens would bring back the eye's youthful flexibility and could also be used to replace the clouded lens in people with cataracts. A number of versions of the gel implant are under study right now around the world. One of those studies using what's called the hydrogel implant was presented on Monday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New York.

Researchers told the group that this remarkable gel is a variation of the same stuff that makes soft contact lenses. But this, instead, is injectable without surgery or stitches and there's no laser.

The only problem right now is it's still being tested and years away from being injected in your eyes or mine.

The hydrogel implant research is being conducted by scientists at VA Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis and is being presented Monday at the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New York.

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