Tak­ing Ad­van­tage of Tech­nol­ogy

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Pa­tients re­quir­ing spec­ta­cle cor­rec­tion with mul­ti­fo­cal lenses have ben­e­fit­ted sig­nif­i­cantly from ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies which were unimag­in­able even a decade ago. The first pro­to­type was de­signed in 1907 by Owen Aves, a British op­tometrist. How­ever, while the con­cept was at­trac­tive, the tech­nol­ogy was not avail­able to make this de­sign prac­ti­cal. The first com­mer­cially avail­able lens, de­signed by Bernard Mait­e­naz, was man­u­fac­tured in France dur­ing the 1960s. Although a cer­tain mea­sure of suc­cess was achieved, many pa­tients had dif­fi­culty with this form of cor­rec­tion be­cause the vari­able power of the lens caused ob­jects to ap­pear dis­torted and straight lines to be “bent”. Re­cent com­put­erised lens man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques have made it pos­si­ble to gen­er­ate com­plex lens curves which have markedly re­duced the vis­ual dis­tor­tion and “swim ef­fect” which of­ten re­sulted in pa­tients be­com­ing nau­seous or “sea­sick”. This ben­e­fit has been achieved by cus­tomis­ing the lens de­sign, which de­pends on a va­ri­ety of fac­tors. For ex­am­ple, a lens which is used for ex­ten­sive close work would dif­fer from one for a truck driver whose main con­sid­er­a­tion is dis­tance vi­sion. Fur­ther­more, the de­sign is af­fected by the na­ture of the dis­tance pre­scrip­tion, frame shape and size, the tilt of the frame on the face and the level of ad­just­ment for read­ing. While ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy de­signs im­prove vis­ual per­for­mance, they also in­crease the risk of flaws dur­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Qual­ity con­trol there­fore be­comes im­per­a­tive. Un­less suf­fi­cient care is taken in the pre­scrib­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, align­ing and dis­pens­ing of these so­phis­ti­cated lenses the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits will be lost.

with DR ALAN BURROW Dip Op­tom F.B.O.A. (HD) D.C.L.P. D. ORTH FBCO M.SC Med GCT OP­TOMETRIST

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