This story is part of a series on the current progression in Regenerative Medicine. This piece is part of a series dedicated to the eye and improvements in restoring vision. 

In 1999, I defined regenerative medicine as the collection of interventions that restore tissues and organs damaged by disease, injured by trauma, or worn by time to normal function. I include a full spectrum of chemical, gene, and protein-based medicines, cell-based therapies, and biomechanical interventions that achieve that goal.

Imagine wearing contacts that improve your vision and feel like you’re not wearing anything at all. Thanks to cutting-edge freeform design techniques, a team of researchers from France has found and begun studying a new type of lens design that may offer a more comfortable and natural-feeling alternative to traditional contacts. Using the freeform method and spiralization of one of its diopters, the researchers have created a unique contact lens design that uses optical vortices to provide independent focus shaping and a more comprehensive range of localization.

Whether you need near or far-sighted correction, astigmatism correction, or bifocals, the spiral lens design could solve all these problems. This means that people who are myopic and need reading glasses could enjoy a more natural and comfortable visual experience with these lenses.

A New Spiral Diopter Lenses

The spiral diopter lenses mimic the natural patterns of the human eye, providing a more realistic visual experience. The researchers have created a new type of contact lens that has a diameter of 10mm. The lens design is unique, combining curvature radii on its outer and inner diopter, resulting in more effective optical performance. The lens also features a spiral design in its effective optical zone, enhancing its performance.

The team conducted two assessments using a 532nm wavelength illumination to evaluate the lens’s performance. The first simulation-based assessment allowed the researchers to observe how the lens performed and behaved in different lighting conditions. The second assessment contrasted the newly created spiral lens with traditional trifocal lenses across different apertures and focal distances, demonstrating the spiral lens’s significant advantages, particularly at larger apertures. The aperture of an optical system limits light by controlling the size of the opening through which it passes.

The results showed that the spiral lens has several advantages over the trifocal lens, particularly at larger apertures. The spiral lens maintained its multifocal behavior even at smaller apertures, a feature that the trifocal lens does not exhibit.

Traditional vs. Spiral Lens

Traditional contact lenses have a symmetrical lens design that relies on uniform focal distribution. In contrast, spiral diopter lenses differ by using a unique spiral pattern to distribute the focal powers on the output diopter. This design divides the lens surface into two equal zones, providing two equivalent optical fields converging in two zones. The interference of these fields produces new focal zones, allowing the lens to encode several focal lengths in a single pupil, resulting in multifocality.

Spiral diopter lenses have a unique advantage over weighted contacts and progressive lenses. These lenses are designed to maintain their multifocal behavior even at smaller apertures, which means that people who wear them can enjoy better vision in all lighting conditions. This is particularly useful for individuals who struggle with low-light conditions, as they can experience difficulty seeing clearly with other types of lenses.

Spiral contacts’ distinctive spiralization design also sets them apart from traditional contacts. This design enhances the quality of images in the focal areas, as demonstrated by the associated point spread functions. The spiralization distributes the focal powers more effectively, resulting in sharper and more precise vision.

Current Clinical Trials and Outcomes

Clinical trials have started on the effectiveness of spiral diopter lenses for correcting presbyopia. This condition affects people over the age of 40, leading to difficulty in focusing on nearby objects. The spiral diopter lens design solves this problem by encoding several focal lengths in a single pupil, resulting in multifocality. The early outcomes of these clinical trials are promising, as the spiral diopter lens design has resulted in more precise vision and fewer side effects than traditional multifocal lenses.

To improve lens performance, upcoming research should focus on optimizing design parameters like the shape and distribution of the spiral for better results across various apertures and focal zones. Although these lenses are not currently available for purchase, we can monitor their progress closely and anticipate their future release.

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