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Scientists create night vision eye drops

Night vision

Washington:  Researchers in the US have used special kind of eye drops to give a man temporary night vision, allowing him to see over 50 metres in the dark.

Science for the Masses, a group of biohackers based in Tehachapi, California, successfully induced night vision in a human test subject by injecting a liquid solution directly into the eyes.

The team used a kind of chlorophyll analog called Chlorin e6 (or Ce6), which is found in some deep-sea fish and is used as an occasional method to treat night blindness.

“There are a fair amount of papers talking about having it injected in models like rats, and it’s been used intravenously since the ’60s as a treatment for different cancers. After doing the research, you have to take the next step,” the lab’s medical officer, Jeffrey Tibbetts, told ‘Science.Mic’.

Tibbetts dripped 50 microlitres of Ce6, an extremely low dose, into team researcher Gabriel Licina’s speculum-stretched eyes, aiming for the conjunctival sac, which carried the chemical to the retina.

“To me, it was a quick, greenish-black blur across my vision, and then it dissolved into my eyes,” Licina said.

To test Licina’s vision, researchers went into a dark field. First, Licina could identify shapes about 10 metres away. Soon he could see longer distances and recognise symbols and identify moving subjects against different backgrounds.

“The other test, we had people go stand in the woods,” Licina said.

“At 50 metres, we could figure out where they were, even if they were standing up against a tree,” he said.

Each time, Licina had a 100 per cent success rate. The control group, without being dosed with Ce6, only got them right a third of the time.

The team will follow up the night vision experiment with more rigorous tests.

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