#319: Spot filler

Each eye has a ‘blind’ area containing no photoreceptors, where the optic nerve connects to the retina.

Even for people with two working eyes, it’s perfectly possible to be unaware of small objects when their images fall into retinal blindspots. Normally such an image will correspond with only one eye’s blindspot, leaving the other eye clear to see it.

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If one eye is, however, obstructed by a door pillar, and the image of the object in question falls within the other blindspot, it simply won’t be seen.

This is true of objects as big as 16 full moons: potentially very bad news if it’s a motorcycle or a pedestrian on a crossing.

Today’s invention is a pair of contact lenses which contain only a small refractive region aligned with the blindspot in each eye. This forms a tiny diverging lens which bends light, which would fall into the blind region, outwards onto the light receptors at its edge.

The brain is good at joining up such signals without creating any perceptual gap (on closing one eye, you aren’t aware of a blank space in your other eye’s visual field). This would prevent all but the tiniest objects disappearing and enhance safety in numerous contexts… from driving to sports to piloting aircraft.

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