Humans Could Eventually Have Unaided Night Vision via Eye Injections of Nanoparticles
Scientists have successfully given mice the ability to see in near-infrared by injecting nanoparticles in to their eyes.
The research, which was conducted by a team lead by Tian Xue from the University of Science and Technology of China and Gang Han from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, involved injecting nanoparticles in to the eyes of laboratory mice which anchored themselves to photoreceptor cells and ‘upconverted’ near-infrared light in to visible light.
This additional vision reportedly lasted for around ten weeks before wearing off, during which time the mice were not only able to see in near-infrared but could also see normal visible light as well.
What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why this method won’t work on human eyes too, thus opening up the possibility of being able to see in the dark without external equipment.
“These extensive experiments leave no doubt that mice injected with infrared-sensitive nanoparticles gain the ability to detect infrared light and obtain visual information from it,” said Prof Vladimir J. Kefalov of Washington University in St. Louis who was not involved in the research.
“However, it is not clear whether achieving practical infrared vision in humans will require repetitive injections and, if so, whether such chronic treatment will have adverse long-term effects on the structure and function of our eyes.”