Ophthalmic technology involves the use of advanced and digital devices to improve eye healthcare. This can be through improvements to diagnosis, tracking medical histories, the administration of eye medications, treating a diseased eye, or with improving vision. With these functions there have been several advances, and we profile three of these.
Smart contact lenses
The first comes from a technology start-up with came out of the Swiss university École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. This is a type of contact lens-glasses combination designed to enable the visually impaired to switch between normal and telescopic vision, with this function controlled by the eye itself. The device was designed by Eric Tremblay. The special lens magnifies 2.8 times, and it is designed to be used with special glasses. This is achieved by incorporating a thin reflective telescope inside a 1.55 mm-thick lens. Following this, small mirrors inside the telescope function to expand the perceived size of objects and magnify the view.
Remarkably the lens is controlled by eye movement. With this motion (in the form of a wink) from the right eye switches magnification on; and a left wink does the reverse and switches it off. To avoid small winks triggering this and irritating the patient, a special detector allows the glasses to differentiate between a blink and wink.
The second technology profiled was developed by DOSE Medical, which was then acquired in 2017 by the company Glaukos. This is a glaucoma intraocular pressure sensor system. This is a wireless technology designed to transform glaucoma therapy via through micro-scale device and drug delivery platform. The device captures pressure measurements recorded within the eye, so that the health and status of glaucoma patients can be measured over pronged periods of time. The data is then transmitted to a doctor. The big step-forwards is with the ability to assess the health of the patient in real-time.
Lens testing device for patients
The third technology we’re focusing on in this feature is comes from Spain. This is a simulation device to enable patients to try out different lenses before surgery. With most cases of surgery for cataracts, patients are given a stock lens. This isn’t always suitable or comfortable with the patient. The device, developed by Carlos Dorronsoro and Susana Marcos, who run the Institute of Optics in Madrid, is called the The SimVis. The device takes advantage of an optoelectronic turntable lens that changes shape in response to an applied electronic current. This enables the patient to select the lens they are most comfortable with.