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Optimec Ltd to develop new generation of innovative soft contact lens measuring equipment

Optimec

Optimec Ltd (Optimec) has 34 years of experience in the design and manufacture of soft contact lens measuring instruments, and has an understanding of customer and operator requirements and a strong presence in the market. 

The manufacturing process for contact lenses has become increasingly precise and accurate through the use of higher performance lathes and moulds. It is essential that Optimec is able to offer measuring instruments capable of the same degree of precision, which current technology is unable to deliver.

In order to overcome this problem, the company has entered into a two and a half year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Dr Kate Sugden and Dr Thomas Drew from Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and School of Life and Health Sciences, to develop a new generation of innovative soft contact lens measuring instruments, utilising novel techniques to match improved accuracy of lens manufacturing processes. 

Optimec is seeking to develop its knowledge of new and emerging optical measurement technologies, to evaluate their potential application to the measurement of hydrated soft contact lenses whilst immersed in saline solution. The introduction into Optimec’s instruments of advanced metrology is a novel approach to satisfying the market’s demand for improved instrumentation.  This is strategically essential for Optimec to maintain and improve its market position through the introduction of a unique product, which will form the platform for a full range of lens measuring instruments that will measure soft contact lenses and also enable expansion into new markets such as intraocular lenses.

The development of interference methods will not only minimise operator dependent variation, but offer improved resolution and accuracy. This enables the de-skilling of these measurements and opens opportunities to address the difficulties of measuring modern non symmetrical lenses such as toric and varifocal.  It is also possible to introduce the capability of full 3D mapping, lens ray tracing, simulation, performance assessment capabilities and very advanced metrology compared to current metrology systems.

Student projects are an expected spin off the technology developed in this project."


For Aston University, the work will contribute to the research output of both the Schools of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Life and Health Sciences in areas of Biomedical Engineering, Vision Sciences, Electronics and Optics.  The project builds on prior research, and within the limits of commercial confidentiality, will provide material for publications in international journals such as Optics Express (ranked 5th of 76 for impact), IEEE sensors, Applied Optics, and at the major conferences in the field.

Dr Thomas Drew commented: “This is a great opportunity for the multi-disciplinary Biomedical Engineering Group to work closely with a business to develop commercially exploitable technology based on cutting edge research.”

Dr Kate Sugden commented: “Student projects are an expected spin off the technology developed in this project. The partners anticipate that the successful project will identify other areas of joint research and knowledge transfer, leading to further opportunities for co-operation in funded programmes. In addition, it will offer opportunities for associated projects at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels, and for student placements.”

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email bpu@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4242.