A team of scientists claim it has found a way to inject people’s eyes with ‘night vision’.
The research gave one volunteer the ability to see more than 164ft (50 metres) in almost total darkness for ‘several hours’.
By injecting his eyes with a liquid solution, he could spot people running among trees in dark conditions 100 per cent of the time, while others who hadn’t been treated with the drops were successful in only a third of cases.
The experiment was carried out by a group of so-called ‘biohackers’ in California called Science for the Masses.
They used a solution of a substance called Chlorin e6 (Ce6), which is found in some deep-sea fish and has light-amplification properties, and is also been used in cancer treatment research.
Combining Ce6 with insulin and saline, the team produced a solution that can increase vision in low light conditions.
They note in their paper, though, that ‘the high risk of cellular toxicity from outside contaminants being absorbed through the skin make this chemical something that should only be handled with caution.’
As a result it is not advisable for people to carry out the procedure themselves at home.
Russell Peake, Eye Health Condition Manager at Boots Opticians, told MailOnline that people should not attempt to recreate the experiment.
‘Unless a solution has been prescribed or recommended by an optometrist, GP or pharmacist, people should not be inserting anything into their eyes,’ he warned.
‘An invasive eye procedure should only ever be undertaken by a trained expert in a clinical environment, as wrong use could lead to disruption or damage of the eye’s surface or tears, potentially leading to vision loss.
‘Whilst the idea of “night vision eye drops” may seem interesting, this appears to be an unlicensed and unproven solution that has no medical approval.
‘We would strongly advise against anyone trying this at home as the risks could potentially be very damaging and would advise people speak to their local optician for further information or advice.’
In the team’s experiment, the liquid was dripped onto the conjunctival sacs on the eye of Gabriel Licina, one of the researchers, which carried the solution to his retinas.
‘Ce6 solution was added to the conjunctival sac via micropippette at three doses of 50μl [microlitres] into each eye,’ the researchers wrote.
The solution initially made his eyes turn black, before being absorbed in a few seconds and returning his eyes to their natural colour.
‘To me, it was a quick, greenish-black blur across my vision, and then it dissolved into my eyes,’ Mr Licina told Mic.
However, to ‘reduce the potential for bright light exposure,’ the team covered his eyes in black contact lenses.
Within an hour his vision had noticeably improved in low-light conditions.
To test the effects, Mr Licina and four ‘control’ subjects who had not been given the solution were taken to a ‘darkened area’.
They were then asked to identify symbols in the dark, either moving or still, and to spot individuals moving in a small grove of trees.
‘The Ce6 subject consistently recognised symbols that did not seem to be visible to the controls,’ the researchers wrote.
And, in the second test: ‘The Ce6 subject identified the distant figures 100 per cent of the time, with the controls showing a 33 per cent identification rate.’
After testing, the team said that Mr Licina wore sunglasses while he slept, and his eyesight in the morning appeared to return to normal.
‘As of 20 days, there have been no noticeable effects,’ they said.
While they note that more testing is needed, the initial results suggest that the technique can provide low light amplification in the human eye.
‘Further testing is need to confirm and measure the degree of improvement in health subjects,’ they concluded.