Two Israeli researchers report that they can correct deuteranomaly, a form of red-green colorblindness, with customizable contact lenses.

As reported in the Optical Society journal Optics Letters, Tel Aviv University’s Sharon Karepov and Tal Ellenbogen incorporated ultra-thin optical devices into off-the-shelf contact lenses.

Test subjects saw their color perception improve up to a factor of 10.

“Problems with distinguishing red from green interrupt simple daily routines such as deciding whether a banana is ripe,” said Karepov, from the university’s department of physical electronics.

“Our contact lenses use metasurfaces based on nano-metric size gold ellipses to create a customized, compact and durable way to address these deficiencies.”

This marks the first time tiny optical devices have successfully been fused to curved surfaces.

Although clinical testing would be needed before the contact lenses could be marketed, the researchers believe that manufacturers could embed the metasurface during the molding stage of contact lens fabrication or thermally fuse them to a rigid contact lens.

They plan to keep studying and improving their unique metasurface transfer process and test it for other applications.

“Glasses based on this correction concept are commercially available. However, they are significantly bulkier than contact lenses,” said Karepov.

“Because the proposed optical element is ultrathin and can be embedded into any rigid contact lens, both deuteranomaly and other vision disorders such as refractive errors can be treated within a single contact lens.”