Eye drops that gives people instant night vision may sound like stuff pulled right from science fiction movies. For?Science For The Masses, a small group of independent scientists from California is out to prove that it is possible. They?ve just successfully induced night-time visual ability to a human subject by injecting a solution right into the eyes.
How it works
First, let?s have a brief backgrounder?on this amazing group of science geeks. Science For The Masses is a self-proclaimed ?citizen science? organization that ?works independently of any university, college, and government.? They?re headquartered at Tehachapi, California, a few hours north of California.
The news about the interesting work that this small band of researchers has been doing was first noticed by Mic.com and posted an article detailing the team?s findings. The group theorized that Chlorin e6 (Ce6), a natural molecule that can be derived from green plants and some algae, could enhance visual acuity in dark environments.
Ce6 has been the basis for some some cancer therapies and has been recommended for treating night blindness. After reviewing scientific literature for the solution, the group?s members thought that Ce6?s photosensitizing properties makes it a good candidate for less conventional applications. As such, ?they?ve conducted experiments to prove their hypotheses.
Prior to the experiments, Science For The Masses has written a paper about this topic entitled ?A Review on Night Enhancement Eyedrops Using Chlorin e6? which is available right from their website. Upon reading it, you?ll notice a disclaimer admitting that ?Increased light amplification may have adverse effects on the cellular structure of the eye if improperly used.? In spite of the risks, one team member named Gabriel Licina bravely volunteered to be the group?s guinea pig all in the name of science.
Yes, this is obviously not a thorough scientific study but the group?s work might serve as a proof of concept and basis for more rigorous research in the future. The test is reportedly a success. After the solution was applied to Licina?s eyes and made its way into his retina, he was able to make out dark shapes that are 10 meters away, and later at a distance of 25 to 50 meters. They also compared it with a control group that?s not treated with Ce6; they were only ?able to pick out the objects at about 30% of the time, while Licina?s success rate was 100%.
So, in the event that this study is accepted by the scientific community, what do you think are the possible applications? Well, aside from the obvious interest by the military, night vision eye drops will be very convenient in many situations. Search and Rescue agents can enhance their vision before braving into different wreckage situations. Engineers can use it in conjunction with flashlight while checking dangerous building repairs. If you?re into hunting or camping, this technology will definitely be handy.
But do you think this is ethical? Should people treat this as another form of body mutilation or not? Let us know in the comments section below.
Photo Credit: ?Science For The Masses