Aston academics improve ophthalmic instruments

Academics from Aston University’s College of Health and Life Sciences are working on an Innovate UK funded project worth almost £150,000 with Optimec Ltd, a manufacturer of contact lens measuring instruments, and Visioncare Research Ltd, a clinical research organisation specialising in ocular medical device clinical trial monitoring.

The project, led by Optimec Ltd and with academic expertise from Professor James Wolffsohn and Dr Thomas Drew, aims to significantly improve ophthalmic imaging instrumentation by developing the use of wavefront sensing. Improved imaging will enable validation of medical devices such as contact lenses and intraocular lenses during their manufacturing process to become more accurate. The imaging device will also be used during ophthalmic surgery to examine how the medical device impacts on the surrounding tissue of the eye and its impact on light focus, in combination with the refractive ocular tissues, to give good vision. It will also allow changes over time following implantation or insertion to be monitored. Current instruments cannot deliver this range of information and most verification that a product needs to meet its design parameters is performed manually, increasing costs and the potential for error.

This project will develop a prototype instrument to validate medical devices during the production process for dimensions and optical quality, ensuring safe and optimal surgical implantation or placement on the ocular surface. If successful, this should help Optimec increase their instrumentation sales, secure more clinical studies for Visioncare and enhance the profile of industry-based research at Aston.

This collaboration furthers Optimec’s relationship with Aston as the company is currently undertaking a Knowledge Transfer Partnership across both the School of Life and Health Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Visioncare Research also has previous experience of working with Aston through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Professor James Wolffsohn, as well as a CASE studentship with the Biomaterials Research Unit.

Professor James Wolffsohn said of the project:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this project. Transferring the knowledge available here at Aston should provide Optimec and Visioncare research with cutting edge methods and provide an ambitious and significant project.” 

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