Human Optics Lab
Intelligent eyeglasses bring into focus the root causes and intervention needs of the global rise in myopia
A third of the world’s population—2.5 billion people—could be short-sighted by 2020. Genetics alone is no longer accepted as the reason for this staggering rise. Surprisingly, research into behavioural traits such as hours spent reading or using computers indicates that these are not major contributors to myopia risk. Promising correlations have been found between the amount of time children spend outdoors, and a decreased development of shortsightedness. What might be the connection between eye health and the indoor or outdoor environment? Is it the spectral properties or intensity of the light? The frequent accommodation of the eyes to greater viewing distances? Due to a lack of quantitative data, these and many other related questions remain unanswered. As a result, an effective intervention strategy is still out of reach. Intelligent wearable technology can help ﬁll this data gap. We will develop sensor-embedded eyeglasses that collect data on both the lighting environment of the wearer, and speciﬁc eye responses, such as to what distances the wearer focuses, and for how long. By identifying quantitative environmental and physiological relationships, we acquire a picture of how our eyes are responding to modern lifestyle demands, and lay the foundation of a measurement-based intervention.