Eye exams will no longer be difficult and lengthy procedures. A research led by Ireneusz Grulkowski of Poland’s Nicolaus Copernicus University, along with Pablo Artal from Spain’s Universidad de Murcia has unveiled a technique which can let ophthalmologists save money on equipment as it allows the whole eye to be imaged using a single lens.
Normally, an eye exam is a long and difficult process in which the doctors have to switch between multiple lenses during the course of the exam. The reason behind this is that each lens has a fixed focal length of a few millimetres. This means the lens that focuses on the retina can’t focus on the cornea, and vice-versa.
This is where the new optical coherence tomography (OCT) comes in. What makes it different and special is that it has an electrically tunable lens. The centre of the container has a clear optical fluid, sealed with a transparent polymer membrane on the front.
This membrane actually acts as the lens and can change shape incrementally. When you apply an electric current, the membrane gets pushed down into the container by a ring-shaped structure, causing it to bulge against the fluid. When the current is stopped, the membrane moves back into place and the convex lens is converted into a concave one.
The technology was tested on seven healthy test subjects and the system was successfully able to image the front and the back of the eye. In addition to that, it could also image the interfaces of the eye’s vitreous gel with extreme details. If this technology becomes common, it will be a huge help to the doctors all around the world.