Smart CL for keratoconus?

January 8, 2024 Staff reporters

Belgian start-up Azalea Vision has successfully demonstrated its first functional prototype of smart contact lens Alma, designed to offer a non-surgical solution for patients suffering from keratoconus, corneal irregularities, photophobia or presbyopia. 


The smart CL includes a diaphragm with an aperture that can be modulated to filter the amount of light entering the eye. The design uses liquid-crystal technology, a microchip, an RF antenna, a medical-grade micro-battery and a configurable light control, said the company. The lens is designed to be easy to use and program, by patients and doctors, allowing for personalised therapy significantly enhancing visual acuity without requiring intraocular surgery. 


“This test marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of non-invasive treatment options for challenging ophthalmological conditions,” said Andrés Vásquez Quintero, co-founder and chief technical officer at Azalea, who wore the device at the demonstration. 


Azalea said the smart CL’s initial application addresses irregular astigmatism caused by conditions including keratoconus. "Patients with corneal irregularities could profit from a non-surgical solution that is designed to filter the aberrated light to recuperate their visual acuity and visual quality,” said Dr Rudy Nuijts, professor of medicine and ophthalmology at University Eye Clinic Maastricht.  


Further down the track, patients with presbyopia, iris disorders, severe light sensitivity due to chronic migraine or dry eye syndrome could potentially benefit also from the technology, the company said.