Scientists from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have developed a wearable visual simulator, which allows patients to experience how their vision will improve after having cataract surgery.
The lightweight binocular visual simulator is autonomous and is worn like a helmet. It is the first device of its kind and has been designed to allow patients and surgeons to see the effects of an intraocular multifocal lens, which allows seeing at different distances, in a realistic way before the lens is implanted. The findings from the research were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Multifocal lenses are used in cataract surgery to replace the lens either when it has lost its transparency or to correct long-sightedness caused by loss of elasticity in the eye lens. There are many different lenses available so choosing which one is best for the patient depends on both their preferences and tolerance.
“The possibility of the patient experimenting with vision using a multifocal lens before the surgery is very attractive to reduce uncertainty and to manage expectations,” said CSIS researcher Susan Marcos. “The possibility of the patient experimenting with vision using a multifocal lens before the surgery is very attractive to reduce uncertainty and to manage expectations.”
Marcos’ team at the Visual Optics and Biophotonics Laboratory in Madrid has been working to develop technologies of simultaneous vision simulation for years. The team’s aim has been to evaluate visual quality with new designs of multifocal lenses before they are implanted or manufactured.
“Visual simulators are an ideal technique to provide patients with a new realistic experience of multifocality before the implantation of a new intraocular lens,” Macros said. “In addition, if the simulator is miniaturised and has a more practical design than the ones currently available in the market, benefits could multiply.”
The researchers tested and validated the simulator’s realism by comparing the visual acuity obtained at different distances through a commercial trifocal lens and through the same lens simulated by a spatial light modulator. The visual simulator can be wirelessly controlled and has the ability to control the device’s lenses as well as track the functional tests conducted on each patient in any location.