Artificial eyelid closure using soft exopatches

The major symptom of Bell’s Palsy (and other facial nerve related illnesses) is an inability to close the eyelid or blink, which can lead to blindness if left untreated. Although most patients recover fully in 3 months, most treatment methods require invasive, surgery. Our project aims to build a device using an "exopatch" which can contract and provide downwards force on the eyelid to artificially recreate a blink motion.  

An easy to use, exosuit type device that can close the eye effectively and be easily taken on & off could provide a way of treating the condition without having to undergo invasive surgery, offering a treatment method for a debilitating condition that affects over a million people worldwide each year. 

Schematic of final eventual device.

Our team is "Nictus", consisting of a few engineering and medical students studying at UNSW in Sydney, Australia. Thanks is provided to Dr. John Daniels, from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW for supervision. Support from the NSW Office for Science and Research for this work as part of the Science and Engineering Student Competition Sponsorship Program is also gratefully acknowledged.