Garth Webb, a British Columbia optometrist, founder of Ocumetics and the creator of the Bionic Lens, told CBC his product would allow someone who can’t make out an object at 10 feet to see it clearly from 30 feet. He also claims his surgically implanted lenses can prevent cataracts from forming because they replace the rotted human lens.
“At age 45 I had to struggle with reading glasses, which like most people, I found was a great insult,” Webb told CBC. “To this day I curse my progressive glasses. I also wear contact lenses, which I also curse just about every day.”
Webb says the surgery is identical to cataract surgery. The original lens you’re born with is removed, and then instead of replacing it with the usual artificial lens, the surgeon folds up Ocumetics’ Bionic Lens in a syringe and injects it into place. According to Webb, it’s an eight-minute surgery that leaves the patient with unprecedented eyesight — and could once and for all do away with contact lenses and glasses.
Ophthalmologist Vincent DeLuise, who teaches at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, says this might be the real deal.
“There’s a lot of excitement about the Bionic Lens from very experienced surgeons who perhaps had some cynicism about this because they’ve seen things not work in the past,” DeLuise told CBC. “They think that this might actually work and they’re eager enough that they all wish to be on the medical advisory board to help him on his journey.”
Clinical trials on humans still need to be undergone. But the Bionic Lens isn’t a pipe dream with a far-off release date. If trials go smoothly, Webb says, the lens could start selling in Canada in two years, and elsewhere once individual governments sort out how to regulate it.
What’s so exciting is how many companies are taking a real swing at improving eyesight, from solar-powered sight to Wi-Fi-connected eyeballs. Webb and his team have allegedly invested over $3 million in researching the Bionic Lens. And if it’s successful, not only will it restore sight to those who’ve lost it, but it could spur a rise in recreational surgeries — and a whole lot of aspiring superheroes who can see ridiculously far.