Corrective tablet screens good news for some

Another BBC article that caught my attention this week, this time about a VDU that can correct vision problems to negate the need for glasses or contact lenses. In short, because it is very technical, the technology is powered by software and algorithms that change the light that a screen emits to distort the image a user sees to their prescription.

When the article talks about one in three people suffering from some form of myopia (short-sightedness), the fact is the vast majority of these people need corrective lenses or glasses for more than just using a tablet. For these people this piece of technology is unlikely to be of any use.

However, there is a very small group who could find this technology hugely beneficial. Even with the most sophisticated contact lenses or glasses, some people with conditions such as keratoconus still see halos and ghosting when looking at VDUs. My hope is that it is that this group that may benefit from this specialist technology. Keratoconus can affect people from a relatively young age, people for whom computers an integral part of their lives both in the work place and at home, so hopefully for this group, this technology could make a real difference.

London’s first eye show – showcasing industry innovation

This month I attended 100% Optical, the UK’s inaugural eye show at London’s ExCeL. Thousands of eye enthusiasts congregated for three days of displays, conferences, fashion events and workshops. Coinciding with London Fashion Week, the event showcased some of the most stylish eye wear brands. In addition, suppliers were proudly displaying their new products and innovations.

I was fortunate to be one of the speakers, taking the stage to discuss communication and contact lenses; both passions of mine. People can feel that they have been overloaded with information after visiting their optometrist. With numerous tests and options available, it is vital that communication is at the forefront of patient care. Good communication skills, in particular, having a caring and listening nature, don’t always come naturally but these are qualities I feel are essential to ensure a productive patient/optometrist relationship.

After my seminar in the ‘Lens Hub’ I was able to enjoy all the show had to offer. As many of you know I love embracing new technology and am proud that Cameron Optometry has some of the most advanced technology available to the industry. So, I particularly enjoyed exploring the 3D Frame Factory to see how the 3D printers work and how frames are then produced. The process first involves taking a 3D scan of your head. I, of course, was happy to volunteer to be a guinea pig! I was then able to see the frames being produced first hand, as well as trying out a few of those that had been ‘made earlier’. They don’t look anything special at first, with clunky bits of plastic, but the finished products are quite impressive. European designers such as Patrick Hoet and Monoqool are winning numerous awards for their cutting edge frames. I will watch with great interest to see if this trend takes off in the UK.

Scanned head

3D printer

One designer who has definitely taken off and is now one of the leading names in stylish eyewear, is Robert William Morris. It was a great honour to meet the man behind the global brand William Morris London. He established the brand some 15 years ago and now it is seen as one of the most stylish choices in eyewear, which we can testify to as it is one of the most popular brands that we stock.

Ian&Robert

It was a hugely successful event and has certainly left me feeling inspired with so many fantastic products and suppliers demonstrating the cutting edge nature of the industry.

Eye Pavilion needs more patients on 10th June

The Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh has asked us to try to provide some patients to sit for the ophthalmology exams run by the Royal College of Surgeons.

Trainee eye doctors must pass a series of exams including one on ‘refraction’ – the art and science of testing someone for glasses.

CamOpt happen to be experts in this of course, so they are asking for our help. You need to have fairly straightforward prescription (nothing too high or weird, they’re only trainees) and be available on Monday 10th June morning and/or afternoon. They will pay your expenses and £30 and you basically sit and have your eyes tested all day – easy money!

If you are available and interested to help, please contact us at the practice and we’ll get things arranged 0131 225 2235

What goes around comes around

Spot the difference – one of these frames is from 1969 and the other 2013, can you tell which is which?

b- spotthediff

 

OK, it’s not that hard, the top one is a 1969 frame that we finally got to replacing for one of our loyal contact lens wearers. However, it goes to show that if you keep anything long enough, it comes back into style.

Who would have though heavy plastic frames with upswept sides would be all the rage in 2013!? I could have taken any one of about 20 frames from our range that match this antique beauty except that is was 40 years ahead of its time in 1969. In fact it’s still in quite good nick so I might pop the lenses out, stick it on display and see if anyone will buy it…

Totally distortion free lens created

It’s actually even better than the title suggests as boffins at Harvard have created a ultrathin lens that focusses light without creating any image distortion of any kind at all.

Without going into too much of the detail, lenses focus light but altering the direction and speed of light rays passing through the material. The amount of material a light ray passes through and the curvature of the 2 surfaces of the lens affect the direction light. Varying the thickness and curvature of lenses in different parts of the lens bend rays differently, focussing them or spreading them out as required.

Sort of.

All this bending of light rays causes lots of aberrations which are the names of unwanted optical distortions. Some of these you will have heard of eg defocus (such as in long and short sight) and astigmatism; but there are lots of others you probably won’t have eg coma, Petzval field curvature and so on. All these aberrations degrade the quality of the final image. We design your glasses lenses with special combinations of thickness and curvature to minimise these aberrations but you can eliminate them entirely.

If you are wearing glasses, look out through the edge rather than the centre of your lens at something white like your ceiling. You might see some coloured fringes, look through the other edge and you might see the fringes are now a different colour. This is a type of aberration called ‘chromatic aberration’.

If you’re quaffing a glass of vino, hold up the empty glass to something square behind it like a picture frame. The frame is all distorted and mishapen, this is an aberration called ‘distortion’.

This new Harvard lens has only one surface and is effectively 2 dimensional (60 nanometres thick) and not very like a lens as you would think of it. It uses tiny little V shaped ‘antennas’ made of a layer of gold on a silicone wafer. The little Vs  alter the speed of light waves instantly and they don’t require passage through a material to change direction. Altering the size and position of these ‘V’s across the surface alters the lens properties.

It’s quite obvious how a such a thin lens would be helpful in any optical system (including glasses) from a physical point of view, but the lack of aberrations is also very exciting. Super vision lenses are within our grasp!

Approved specs for the orthodox

It’s not easy for me to verify this story but more reputable sources than this blog have picked it up: street vendors are selling stick on glasses patches to blur the vision of jews concerned about their wandering eyes.

The patches apparently blur things beyond a few metres but leave close vision unaffected.  Optically, I’m not exactly sure how they can achieve this, reading glasses would achive this but you can’t stick them on on top of your regular prescription.

If you’re visiting Israel on holiday I’d be interested to see these things so see if you can pick up a set. They seem to be selling for about £5 but if you’re from Scotland you’ll know that’s only the price to start haggling from.

Sony demo new anti-glare coating

Sony have shown off a new type of coating which virtually eliminates glare from touchscreens.

Now I don’t want to be a pedant about things but it’s not strictly speaking ‘glare’ and also there is no such thing as ‘anti-glare’ coatings. I can bore you with the details if you like but they are better described as ‘anti-reflection’.

Commonly used in glasses lenses these coatings minimise the unsightly reflections people see when you’re wearing your glasses letting them actually see your eyes. They really look much much better and at CamOpt we always recommend these coatings.

They are also used in touchscreen devices to help the screen be more visible in bright light or sunshine (not often an issue in Edinburgh…). Traditional coatings use microscopic layers of a material that cause the reflections to cancel each other as they pass through the layers meaning almost nothing is reflected from the lens.

Sony’s new approach uses lots of tiny ‘lenslets’ (they say like a moth’s eye) which take the oncoming light and scatter it in all directions. Reflections require smooth surfaces so this microscopically rough surface doesn’t reflect but scatters light. Their demo is quite impressive and hopefully it can come to optics one day as long as the optical qualities of the surfaces are maintained.

Another frame we’ll never stock

Hot on the heels of the bizarre looking A-Frame comes the Ron Arad ‘Corbs’.

Apparently taking inspiration from a vertebrates spine, the sunglasses are designed without hinges to give a snugger fit that should never come loose.

Again appealing to a very small market, the idea is certainly novel and another example of how eventually we discover that mother nature had it right all along.

Shorter female arms mean reading glasses sooner!

Some brave souls in America have suggested that the reason women need reading glasses before men is due to the their smaller stature and therefore shorter arms.

Many studies have demonstrated women require reading glasses sooner than men even though they have the same focussing ability (or lack of) – a condition that comes to us all called presbyopia. The researchers suggested that this is because women tend to hold things closer than men and went on to pin the blame shorter female arms.

It’s one of those rare occasions where common sense and science actually meet but I’m not really sure this research really tells us anything useful. However the lead scientist sought to ramp up the importance by saying “These findings could impact global vision care in multiple ways”.

Err, steady on.

Glasses to fit any face

These frankly quite awful looking glasses are actually quite innovative and may be coming to a shelf near you.

Ron Arad’s A-frame series are so adjustable they can fit almost any face. The nose piece hides a clever hinge which you can use to move the lenses up or down or in and out freely. The hinges on the sides (legs) are similarly adjustable.

Most frames we stock come in multiples sizes and the dispensing team are experts in choosing the right shape and size and then adjusting frames so we rarely have a problem, but it will be interesting to see how this concept develops in future frame designs.

My feeling is that these are unlikely to grace the stands of Cameron Optometry and I doubt many in Edinburgh would embrace their quirkiness so it might be some time till we are stocking them at CamOpt.

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0131 225 2235