03.12.2015

The next generation of contact lens technology

The next generation of contact lens technology

The origins of contact lenses can be traced all the way back to Leonardo da Vinci, who first found that it may be possible to correct sight in this way in 1508, when he described and sketched the first ideas for contact lenses.

It was more than 300 years before contact lenses were fabricated and worn on the eye, and in the years since minor improvements made each decade have resulted in the enormous choice we now have when it comes to vision correction.

However, one organisation is now aiming to take things to the next level by producing a new generation of vision correction products which it claims may change the landscape of the industry forever.

According to WaveForm, it has developed technology that calculates eye corrections and can provide up to 28 times more information as a regular eye exam in a heartbeat.

The technology has been developed over the last 15 years, according to WaveForm president and chief technology officer Steve Dunn, who told Daily Inter Lake that it has been working on developing refractive "wavefront" technology which can optimise vision through the use of more effective contact lens technology.

He explained that the tech used in the creation of the company"s products is the same kind used to identify objects in space.

"This is really home-grown incubated contact lens technology. We calculate the correction for lenses and place that correction over the pupil and not in the geometrical centre of the lens. We"re the only ones in the world who do this," Mr Dunn explained.

He added that it is difficult to explain how the technology works, but that the easiest way is to say that wavefront aberrometry, which measures of the imperfections in the eye"s optical system, can measure 28 levels of aberrations within the organ.

This makes it far more effective at determining what is wrong or right with people"s eyes and therefore enables more accurate prescription of vision correction products, Mr Dunn told the Daily Inter Lake.

The correction is then placed over the pupil to handle even the most complex eye disorders, such as keratoconus and severe astigmatism.

Mr Dunn said that the "wow" factor comes from these people with medical issues who cannot find other solutions but can benefit from WaveForm.

According to Mr Dunn, it is possible to manufacture up to 100 contact lenses in the WaveForm laboratory, but the company will move to a larger facility once wavefront technology is perfected for producing multifocal contact lenses, after which point the company may employ up to 100 employees within three years.

A major factor in take-up of the new contact lenses will be the baby boom generation, who are suffering from more eye problems than any other demographic.

As their eyesight continues to deteriorate, the mend for vision correction will only increase, with many using contact lenses, although Mr Dunn is aware that for some people they will prefer more traditional forms of vision correction, which is why he is not ruling anything out.

"At the end of the day, this company will get into the eyeglass manufacturing business, too. It will make sense to expand to both sides of the business," he told the source.

"This is the most fun and the most exciting work I"ve ever done. We were pioneers in soft lenses, and this [new technology] takes it global," Mr Dunn concluded.

It is clear that, since the first contact lenses were sketched by Da Vinci over 500 years ago, the technology has come a long way, and WaveForms looks to be ensuring that new developments in the field of eyecare will continue to be made in the coming years to improve the lives of people across the planet.

by Alexa Kaczka


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