How a Simple Innovation Could Help People See in the Dark

Posted by Sean Carmichael on Jun 6, 2015 1:00:05 PM

Field tests of people treated with the night-vision formula showed that they had remarkable ability to navigate in the dark in a variety of environments.

IO9 recently reported on a simple innovation that concerns an eye drop that enhances a person’s night vision. The group of self-descried “biohackers” called Science for the Masses decided to see if a chemical chlorophyll analog called Chrolin e6 could induce night vision. The experiment was wildly successful, causing people with normal vision to see 160 feet in darkness for a brief period.

Science for the Masses refined a formula developed by Totada R. Shantha by adding insulin and dimethlysulfoxide. The formula affects the way the retina’s light-sensing rods see in the dark. It is delivered by eye drops through the conjunctive sac of the eye that leads to the retina. The drops take about an hour to take effect. Field tests of people treated with the formula showed that they had remarkable ability to navigate in the dark in a variety of environments. No side effects seemed to have manifested.

The biohackers caution that using this formula is not the sort of thing one should try at home, since improper use could damage the eye. But, in the hands of a health care professional, the CE6 formula could have a great many applications. Treatment for people with night blindness and other diseases is just the start. Soldiers, police, and other people who have to operate in the dark could use the eye drops to temporarily enhance their night vision, eliminating the need for night vision eyewear.

Naturally, a lot more testing lies ahead before the formula becomes commercially available. But Science for the Masses showed what a small group can do, given imagination and gumption.

Topics: Innovation Insights

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