05/04/2013 06:24 BST | Updated 05/06/2013 06:12 BST

New Artificial Eye Can Change Retina Size In Different Light Conditions

A new artificial eye developed in the UK has a cosmetic 'pupil' which can dilate and contract in different light conditions.

Developed at Nottingham Trent, the eye is not able to help wearers see - but is instead aimed at boosting wearers' confidence.

Pupils in current artificial eyes aren't able to respond to changing light in the same way as real eyes.

The new eye is intended to solve this problem by making artificial eyes as lifelike as possible.

According to local news reports, Dr Philip Breedon, a reader in smart technologies at the university, spent 18 months building the breakthrough prototype.

His device, made with the help of John Pacey-Lowrie Ocular Prosthetics, is able to sense when light conditions change in a room and alter the size of the pupil accordingly.

The University team will now seek to reduce the size of the protoype and develop it as a commercial product.

Dr Breedon told This Is Nottingham: "This is a very exciting development which shows how the use of smart materials can potentially improve people's lives.

"There is a lot more work to be done, but we are very pleased with some of the initial results as they are very encouraging."

Meanwhile work in continuing on the longer-term project of building an artificial eye which can actually restore sight from scratch in the blind.

Last month scientists at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London said they had developed a retina inplant that can convert images into electronic signals that can be interpreted by the brain.

The device - the Argus II - is a camera mounted on a pair of glasses, which sends information to a chip resting on the retina. The chip is able to send signals through the optic nerve to the brain, giving the user a low-resolution - but real - realtime image of the world.