Skip to comments.Human Eye Gives Researchers Visionary Design for New, More Natural Lens Technology
Posted on 11/13/2012 10:42:36 PM PST by neverdem
Drawing heavily upon nature for inspiration, a team of researchers has created a new artificial lens that is nearly identical to the natural lens of the human eye. This innovative lens, which is made up of thousands of nanoscale polymer layers, may one day provide a more natural performance in implantable lenses to replace damaged or diseased human eye lenses, as well as consumer vision products; it also may lead to superior ground and aerial surveillance technology.
This work, which the Case Western Reserve University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and PolymerPlus team describes in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express, also provides a new material approach for fabricating synthetic polymer lenses.
The fundamental technology behind this new lens is called "GRIN" or gradient refractive index optics. In GRIN, light gets bent, or refracted, by varying degrees as it passes through a lens or other transparent material. This is in contrast to traditional lenses, like those found in optical telescopes and microscopes, which use their surface shape or single index of refraction to bend light one way or another.
"The human eye is a GRIN lens," said Michael Ponting, polymer scientist and president of PolymerPlus, an Ohio-based Case Western Reserve spinoff launched in 2010. "As light passes from the front of the human eye lens to the back, light rays are refracted by varying degrees. It's a very efficient means of controlling the pathway of light without relying on complicated optics, and one that we attempted to mimic."
The first steps along this line were taken by other researchers[1, 2] and resulted in a lens design for an aging human eye, but the technology did not exist to replicate the gradual evolution of refraction.
The research team's new approach was to follow nature's example and...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Why do we need to pay all this money to “researchers” and “designers” to develop lenses? After all, nobody designed the human eye.
GRINs have been around for a bit now. They can be cleverly used for all sorts of neat implementations. This is really ground breaking work and hopefully will be appreciated here rather than denigrated.
Thanks for posting
Your eyes degrade with age. With these new lenses, they could be implemented into contact lenses or eyeglasses to slow the degradation by not forcing your eyes into an unnatural way of focusing, which is the case now.
“GRIN optics may find use in miniaturized medical imaging devices or implantable lenses. “A copy of the human eye lens is a first step toward demonstrating the capabilities, eventual biocompatible and possibly deformable material systems necessary to improve the current technology used in optical implants,” Ponting says.
Current generation intraocular replacement lenses, like those used to treat cataracts, use their shape to focus light to a precise prescription, much like contacts or eye glasses. Unfortunately, intraocular lenses never achieve the same performance of natural lenses because they lack the ability to incrementally change the refraction of light. This single-refraction replacement lens can create aberrations and other unwanted optical effects.”
Looking to the future, the solution to lens-related near or farsightedness may not be traditional glasses, contacts, or even laser surgery. It may be replacing the deficient natural lenses with GRIN lenses.
I will be needing cataract surgery in the coming years. I hope that the GRIN technology will be available so I can finally get rid of these !@#$%^!! glasses.
I presume that you are familiar with the medical meaning of the term "cataract." Captain Rhino's excellent comment# 5 describing current choices for people with cataracts is the same as it was 15 years ago: stay blind or extremely nearsighted without surgery or get an intraocular implant that makes you either nearsighted or farsighted in the affected eye while still needing glasses.
The visual cortex in the back of your noodle doesn't appreciate discordant images.
“...in the back of your noodle?” Obviously a technical term!
Given the abysmal knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the general population, I prefer to communicate like a grunt. I just avoid the expletives.
I got a new lens in my right eye last week. The existing lens with the cataract was removed and replaced with a new one.
The actual surgery took about 9 minutes. I was given a DVD showing the entire operation. He made a small incision about 2 millimeters and a larger one about 4 millimeters. He used a probe through the small one to scrape out the lens and then sucked it out through the large one. I think he inserted a solution and then sucked it all out. You could see some bubbles before it was all sucked out.
He then inserted a probe through the large incision and squirted out the new lens. it has a small tail tangential to the lens. Using a probe through the small incision he grabbed the tail and positioned the lens to suit him. He inspected his work and using a small serrated tool touched the incision edge, cauterizing it closed.
I will have the other eye done next week. The amazing truth is that dealing with the ladies at the front desk getting all the paperwork done took longer than the sctual operation.
What kind of lens did you get, a fixed focal distance or newer?
———What kind of lens did you get,———
For both eyes I get fixed focal length lenses. I had decided that i did not want to spend the money in excess of the Medicare Advantage payment.
The doctor told me he actually did not recommend any of the several other types available. Astigmatism is present in both eyes and he did not think my correction would be adequate with the astigmatic implanted lenses. I will have bifocal (maybe trifocal again) lenses with astigmatic correction in tops with no power and readers in the bottom