Babak A. Parviz of the University of Washington is working on futuristic contact lens technology. His research includes work on contact lenses incorporating sensors for glucose monitoring for diabetics and potentially contact leness as display monitors out of the science fiction realm. If you are interested in where contact lens technology may lead to in the future his work and publications are a fun read.
In terms of futuristic contact lens technology the question remains where the corneal molding technology disappeared to. Several years back a California company had developed a permanent technique for reshaping the cornea to adjust the prescription. It involved a prescription medication to soften the collagen bonds of the cornea temporarily, and several days of rigid contact lens wear to reshape the tissue while in this malleable state. Oddly, it seems to have vanished after having some very positive reports.
Current technology not being used clinically allows determing blood glucose levels by utilizing laser or infared light directed into the fluid inside the anterior chamber, the front part of the eye. This fluid is referred to as the aqueous humor and the glucose levels allow an estimation of the blood levels.
A new type of contact lens should be on the market within a year. Developed at Harvard University it will allow constant steady release of eye medications instead of the variation in dosing levels that ocurrs with prescription eye drops. Other competitors are in the market. I have seen the effectiveness of this using todays contact lenses saturated with eye medications in off label applications. It should be a great option for certain eye diseases. I suspect glaucoma will be one of the first contact lens applications where it will deliver results like an insulin pump can for a diabetic who has wide swings in blood sugar levels when control was tried with injections.
Patents exist for photochromatic contact lenses that darken with sunlight and act as a sunlens. When this will see the “light of day” is unknown. Patents also exsist for liquid contact lenses. Researchers have looked for eyedrops to act as temporary corrective liquid lenses for years-maybe someday an eyedrop a day will keep the eye doctor at bay.
Contact lenses with added components to prevent infections are under study and probably will reach the market place in the next few years.
Custom eye specific shaped contact lenses are certainly going to be a part of the future. Wether you know it or not, you suffer from more vision problems than nearsightedness and astigmtism. You also have trefoil, quadrafoil, spherical abberation and other optical misfortunes degrading your vision. The future will only look better!