Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU) has announced the signing of a research agreement, which will be co-funded by Aldar properties and Sandooq Al Watan, to develop economical, reusable and disposable contact lenses for those suffering from colour blindness.
The project team will include researchers from Khalifa University who are currently working in collaboration with researchers from Imperial College London, said a KU press release on Sunday.
The sponsored research agreement was signed by Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director General of Sandooq Al Watan; and Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University.
The research team has already developed prototypes of the contact lenses, which will be refined for personal customisation, and the grant from Sandooq Al Watan will support further development and commercialisationof the product.
The project aims to benefit numerous people who are suffering from colour blindness, for which there is no cure at present. Though filtering glasses and special contact lenses are available, these glasses are often bulky and not compatible with vision-correcting glasses, while the lenses are expensive and do not benefit all users.
Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Executive Officer of Aldar Properties, said, "This research-driven initiative will truly change lives for the better, and reinforce the UAE’s position as leader in pushing medical and research advancement. We very much look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of this initiative."
Dr. Al Hammadi said, "Our researchers have consistently worked for the benefit of the community and we see this smart contact lenses project as another example of their commitment to supporting the UAE’s healthcare objectives in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision. We also foresee possible intellectual property benefits, and further commercial potentials, including manufacturing of contact lenses in the UAE, which highlights Khalifa University’s scientific innovation drive in collaboration with partner institutions."
Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director General of Sandooq Al Watan, said, "This agreement comes as an integral part of our vision to advance scientific research in the UAE through investing in researchers to develop their research into emerging projects that will benefit the UAE society and the world; contributing towards strengthening the country’s position as a global leader in the field of healthcare."
Dr. Haider Butt, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Khalifa University is the Principal Investigator of the project.
The project partners aim to manufacture lenses with various optical filtering bands to cover several types of colour blindness. The lenses will be made with optimised composition for daily disposable, extended wear, and reusable purposes. The partners will also engage with the Khalifa Innovation Centre, through Khalifa University’s Office of Technology Management and Innovation, to explore the establishment of a startup company.