New custom contact lenses could help other eye problems - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

New custom contact lenses could help other eye problems

(Columbia) Jan 21, 2003 - Finding the best fitting pair of glasses or contacts can be quite a spectacle. For computer scientist Brian Barsky, an affiliate professor of optometry and vision science at the University of California at Berkeley, it's been impossible

Dr. Barsky says, "I tried many lenses, really went around the world looking for a contact lens to fit, and no lens would fit."

Barsky has a vision problem called "keratoconus." Corneal specialist Dr. Francis Price, of the Price Vision Group, explains, "Keratoconus is a condition that actually leads to a thinning of the outer surface of the cornea, and, during the thinning, the cornea actually gets distorted and bulges out."

That disrupts the path of light through the eye, causing distorted double vision. Barsky, whose only option was a corneal transplant, set his sights on the problem. For years his research involved shape control of surfaces, like car bodies, "What occurred to me is we could take similar ideas from that research and apply that to the design of contact lens."

He came up with a unique formula that uses precise corneal measurements to mathematically create the shape of a custom lens that will fit best. To design the contact lens, Barsky divides the corneal image into small computerized shapes, and seamlessly puts them back together.

Dr. Price say that knowing how the curvature varies will help eye doctors develop contact lenses that exactly match a patient's eye, "I think if we can get this to work it would be a tremendous turning point."

Barsky says his work could also help surgeons plan for delicate corneal surgeries and aid patients with other types of vision problems, such as scars on the eye.

by Scott Hawkins

posted 2:30pm by Chris Rees

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