Eyecare professionals use astronomy tools
Wednesday, September 4 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
Techniques developed by astronomers are coming closer to optometry and ophthalmology.
Historically, optometrists and ophthalmologists have focussed largely on two vision problems: spherical errors and astigmatism. However, a variety of other subtle errors can affect both the clarity of a patient’s vision and the ECP’s view when examining the back of the eye.
Techniques developed by astronomers to better distinguish objects in space can help identify these errors. This is particularly the case with wavefront optics, says Dr. Larry N. Thibos, from Indiana University, in a recent paper published in Optometry and Vision Science. In a wavefront, all the points of the surface take the same amount of time to travel the distance from the source. It can therefore be observed to analyze light propagation.
For Dr. Thibos, this concept transforms the way fundamental optical problems are approached. He gives examples of how it could be used, such as monitoring changes in optical quality in eyes with deterioration of the tear film, assessing the outcomes of vision-correcting therapies, and tracking the progression of visual abnormalities in growing eyes.