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Magnetic eye implants could save the eyesight of glaucoma patients

They're safer and more reliable than past technology.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 12, 2018
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Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Glaucoma patients can use implants to treat the condition by draining the eye, but the existing technology rarely lasts more than a few years thanks to the accumulation of microorganisms that wreck the functionality. A Purdue-led team might have a clever technological solution, though: magnetism. The group has developed a smart implant that cleans itself with microactuators that vibrate whenever you induce a magnetic field. It would not only be far more reliable, but could be customizable as well.

The implant also has the ability to change its flow resistance. Unlike many other implants, you could tailor this device to specific people and keep it updated as the glaucoma changes over time. Patients might have better eyesight for longer.

There's no mention of when you might see this tech in the field, but it's more than just a lab project. Scientists are currently trying to patent the technology, and are hoping to find companies willing to license it. If that happens, the new implant could become a go-to treatment for glaucoma patients who've otherwise had to settle for more temporary solutions.

Purdue's magnetic field eye implant

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