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Electro-optic refraction trial frame

Development of a fully automated refractive trial frame based on an electrowetting liquid lens for the assessment of a person's visual acuity.

With today's educated and aging W/W population the need for visual correction is increasing dramatically. In Western countries more than 50% of the population has some eye correction device (most of them wear frames), with JAPAN having a figure of 60%. As a consequence, the need for visual refraction testing is increasing with tests being carried out less by highly skill specialists and more by the assistant or technician. There is thus an increase in the number of testing units being used in the market (i.e. more than one technician/assistant per doctor). The classic way to conduct such a test is by using a manual frame trial made of discrete single lenses. The technician replaces new lenses based on feedback from the patient after looking at the traditional eye doctor chart. This classic but time-consuming test known as subjective refraction (i.e. based on patient feedback) is widely used today by the W/W population of 30 (Opticians, Optometrists, Ophthalmologists). The major drawbacks of the conventional manual frame trial are as follows: * Time-consuming testing * Need for high volumes of test lenses (i.e. all possible eye refractions) * Eye memory effect from changing one lens for another (confusing the patient on the best option between test lens). The purpose of this new product is to develop a new automated electro-optic frame trial unit. In this new unit the test lenses are replaced by a new technology known as an electro-wetting liquid lens. The lens power is voltage controlled using electrical means and software to change the status of the refraction, i.e. vision correction through new electro-optic frame trials in a continuous mode. In addition the new electro-optic frame trial will have a fully integrated remote control communication mode (i.e. Blue Tooth or other) and will allow the patient to wear the unit in a similar way to using standard frames. This increases simulation of the person's visual acuity and provides a higher level of visual acuity. Indeed in the last 30 years human visual acuity has increased tremendously mainly due to better eye refraction performed by new technology. This new technology will enhance the eye refraction methodology and will contribute to a person's visual acuity. The product will be connected to a computer through wireless technology and the eye doctor will be able to perform the refraction test through a fully automated programme. The automated programme will guide the doctor in multiple human vision parameters like Sphere, Cylinder, Axis, Prism, etc. The continuous change of the electric wetting liquid lens will offer a faster way to the best visual acuity correction and therefore to the selection of the most suitable prescription lens. Finally the patient will also become part of the loop and will use the continuous effect of the electric wetting liquid lens to choose the final lens correction parameter using the automated software. Keywords: refractions, variable optics, ophthalmology.
Acronym: 
VARIFRAME
Project ID: 
3 330
Start date: 
01-06-2004
Project Duration: 
40months
Project costs: 
1 600 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Optical Technology related to measurements
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.