The current state of ophthalmological materials used for contact lenses present a broad range of synthetic polymers which fulfill the physiological requirements of the cornea, such as high oxygen permeability and wettability. However, even with the tremendous advances in materials and contact lens design, the issue of sustained biocompatibility is still the main factor limiting the lifetime of contact lens wear. The unchanged rate of contact lens-induced microbial infection over the past decade is also one of the primary causes of discontinuation of lens wear.
Today’s contact lenses are worn mainly for vision correction and cosmetic reasons. Yet, with continued advances in polymer chemistry and nanotechnology, contact lenses are destined to become more than just a cosmetic consideration. Current research and developments show that contact lenses may provide a unique wearable platform for continuous and noninvasive monitoring of physiological conditions, as well as detection of biomarkers associated with ocular and other diseases. Additional developments include therapeutic contact lenses for ophthalmic drug delivery or color blindness correction. Although more advances and experimentation are required, contact lenses with new functionalities beyond vision correction belong to the most exciting area of the ophthalmology.