(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
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.
posted 2:30pm by Chris