An innovative Florida man has developed a novel robotic insertion and removal device for scleral lens wearers with dexterity issues.
The robot is the brainchild of scleral lens wearer Craig Hershoff who went through a period of anxiety when his wife passed away, causing his hands to shake, making inserting and removing his contact lenses difficult. "What happens in a few years if I actually have a tremor and I can't get these lenses in?” he told CNN. “I need them to see and I don't have anyone to help put them in for me."
Hershoff’s CLIARA (contact lens insertion and removal apparatus) robot technology uses a camera and patient-controlled retractable suction cups to gently guide the lens on to the eye.
"It's quite simple. The user looks straight down and if the insertion is in the right eye, the left eye will be focused on a video display," Hershoff said. "The left eye will see a real-time video of the insertion of the contact lens into the right eye, allowing the user to track the motion of the contact lens at all times."
When ready, the user commands the device to go up to the eye and sensitive force sensors detect contact and stop the motion of the device as the contact lens is inserted. After insertion, the device retracts downward.
CLIARA is currently undergoing clinical trials and Hershoff said he hopes to have the device approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to launch commercially next year. "I think this can really help a lot of people. Anyone with a tremor or a neurological disorder, or anyone who is afraid of touching their eyes."