Biohacking vision - Innovation approaches to eye health - Hindustan Times

Biohacking vision - Innovation approaches to eye health

ByHindustan Times
Oct 31, 2023 11:01 AM IST

This article is authored by Dr Vineet Sehgal, senior consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals.

While hacking conjures images of covert operations and digital breaches, the term "biohacking" has emerged as a buzzword for enthusiasts looking to push the boundaries of human capabilities. Specifically, there is a burgeoning interest in biohacking vision - using innovative methods to improve eye health and augment visual abilities. In this exploratory voyage into the cutting-edge advances of eye care, let's break down the most compelling innovations on the horizon:-

Safeguard your vision: Expert advice for healthy eyes (Photo by Kamila Maciejewska on Unsplash) PREMIUM
Safeguard your vision: Expert advice for healthy eyes (Photo by Kamila Maciejewska on Unsplash)

1. Dietary supplements & nutritional biohacking - The saying 'You are what you eat' has never been more relevant. Several studies suggest a link between diet and eye health. Foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins can combat age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration. Biohackers, always on the quest for enhancement, have innovatively designed dietary supplements with the perfect balance of these nutrients. These aren’t your garden-variety multivitamins but are meticulously tailored concoctions that promise heightened vision, reduced fatigue, and potential resistance against degenerative conditions.

2. Protecting eyes in the digital age - In our increasingly digital world, eyes are at the frontline, battling screen emissions daily. Blue light from screens is notorious for causing eye strain and interrupting sleep patterns. Cue the emergence of blue light blocking glasses and screen protectors. These products claim to filter out the harmful wavelengths of light, reducing eye strain and promoting better sleep. Though the verdict is still out on the long-term benefits, many users report immediate relief from eye fatigue.

3. Working out the eyes - In the vein of digital solutions, tech mavens and eye care specialists introduce a suite of applications and online platforms. These tools are designed to serve as an ocular gymnasium, offering a regimen of exercises to bolster eye muscle tone, agility, and endurance. Biohackers champion these tools as an efficient way to counteract the digital age's adverse effects on our eyes.

4. Bionic eye implants - Bionic eye implants, reminiscent of science fiction, herald a future where vision impairments might be surmountable. While still experimental, the premise is promising: when coupled with a camera, these implants can relay visual signals straight to the brain, bypassing a compromised optic nerve. This is particularly promising for individuals suffering from specific retinal ailments, potentially restoring sight where once deemed impossible.

5. Genetic interventions - The gene-editing wizardry of CRISPR technology holds the potential to rewrite the narrative of hereditary eye diseases. By targeting and rectifying genetic aberrations at the root, the dawn of a future where genetically-linked eye diseases could be relegated to history books is tantalisingly close. However, the profound ethical ramifications ensure that this domain remains a cauldron of debate and deliberation.

6. Smart contact lenses - Traditional contact lenses have been passive vision correctors. Enter the age of "smart lenses" - a remarkable synthesis of biology and tech. These lenses, embedded with micro-sensors, can monitor biological markers, offer augmented reality overlays, and even enhance colour contrasts or provide telescopic functionalities. Vision correction was just the beginning; the future is about augmentation.

7. Holistic wellness approaches - Central to biohacking is the belief that optimal function is an interconnected puzzle. Vision isn't an exception. Holistic health paradigms, such as yoga and meditation, emphasise that ocular health is intertwined with overall wellbeing. Techniques rooted in ancient Indian traditions, reputed to augment blood circulation to the eyes and alleviate strain, are now receiving global recognition.

8. Photo-biomodulation (PBM) - Using red or near-infrared light to stimulate cellular function, PBM is gaining traction in the biohacking community. Preliminary studies indicate that exposure to these light frequencies can accelerate eye tissue repair and may be beneficial in treating degenerative eye conditions. Though further research is required, PBM represents a non-invasive and promising approach to eye health.

The world of eye care is changing rapidly. From diet and exercises to high-tech implants and gene editing, there's a lot happening. What's clear is that the future holds exciting possibilities for better vision and healthier eyes.

However, it's always good to remember that while new methods are exciting, we should approach them with caution. Always speak to a professional before trying something new for your eyes. Here's looking to the future – with clear vision and bright eyes!

This article is authored by Dr Vineet Sehgal, senior consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals.

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