The new, 1.55 millimeter-thick contact lens contains an extremely thin, reflective telescope, which is activated by winks.
First released in 2013 and fine-tuned since then, the prototype was unveiled by Eric Tremblay from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in California on Friday.
The lenses come with smart glasses that respond to the wearer's winks -- but not blinks -- so that the user can switch almost effortlessly from normal to magnified vision and back.
The wearer winks with the right eye to activate the telescope, and with the left eye to deactivate it.
"We think these lenses hold a lot of promise for low vision and age-related macular degeneration," a vision disorder that affects older people, Tremblay said.