News Briefs Archive

How Butterflies Inspired a New Optical Implant to Treat Glaucoma

May 16, 2018

Engineers have taken clues from the transparent wings of the glasswing butterfly to develop an eye implant to treat glaucoma, according to the site EdgyLabs.

Greta oto, known by their nickname glasswing butterflies, are a special species of butterfly with partly-translucent wings, which serve as camouflage. This allows them to blend into their environment, and dodge the sight of predators.

Scientists are focusing on the irregular nanostructure of these butterflies’ wings, which allows light to pass through. The most recent development in glasswing butterfly biomimicry comes from the California Institute of Technology.

Caltech engineers took the antireflective property of the wings of longtail glasswing butterflies as a model to develop an ultra-thin eye implant to monitor intra-ocular pressure.

Glaucoma patients need to monitor their eye pressure at their doctor’s office, which they can only do a few times per year.

Caltech’s biophotonic eye implant, which comes with a handheld reader device, monitors the pressure inside glaucoma patients’ eyes constantly, alerting them to take medications if there’s a spike.

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