Omega Ophthalmics Wants to Put the Power of AR in Our Eyes

August 9, 2017 - 3 minutes read

So far the hype about augmented reality has been somewhat undermined by the frivolousness of its popular applications. Existing examples of AR like Snapchat and Pokemon Go are fun and all, but it is hard for a lot of people to see how the technology that makes them possible will eventually be an integral part of their day-to-day lives. Even with the recent comeback of Google Glass in factories, the practical uses of AR can seem a bit obscure. Until Apple, Google, and Facebook make good on their big AR aspirations, the public will only think of AR as the technology that puts dancing hot dogs in your living room, if they think of it all. But Houston MedTech app developers are excited about startups like Kentucky-based Omega Ophthalmics, who want to put AR directly into your eye.

Omega Ophthalmics wants to create “the new standard lens for cataract surgery”. It also aims to integrate AR into its implanted lenses. Co-founded by ophthalmologist Dr. Gary Wortz and Rick Ifland, the startup is now focused on helping elderly patients of degenerative eye diseases. MedTech app developers are rooting for the company’s lenses because they can be used as a platform for a variety of high tech medical fixes. According to surgeon Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, Omega’s patented Gemini Refractive Capsule doesn’t just “improve visual rehabilitation but creates a work station inside the eye that opens up endless possibilities to improve our quality of life.” The AR capabilities in these lenses could aide aging patients by sending out drug alerts (or even dispersing the medication) or assisting them with interactive maps.

Really, the possibilities are endless, and the founders seem to know it. They seem to have Elon Musk’s neural lace in mind as a model: first you invent something that creates an intimate bond between the body and technology to solve serious medical issues, then use it to build a race of superhumans. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exagerration, but Dr. Wortz did mention “super soldiers” in an interview with TechCrunch. A small clinical trial with seven patients has been a success so far, and Omega is hoping to expand its testing soon. Whether or not the startup’s Gemini Refractive Capsule lenses become an integral part of the cyborg future, MedTech app developers are hopeful about these lenses potential for improving the lives of cataracts patients.

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