Ophthalmic engineering
: the development of novel instrumentation to further research in the field

  • Thomas Drew

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The principle theme of this thesis is the advancement and expansion of ophthalmic research via the collaboration between professional Engineers and professional Optometrists. The aim has been to develop new and novel approaches and solutions to contemporary problems in the field. The work is sub divided into three areas of investigation; 1) High technology systems, 2) Modification of current systems to increase functionality, and 3) Development of smaller more
portable and cost effective systems. High Technology Systems: A novel high speed Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system with integrated simultaneous high speed photography was developed achieving better operational speed than is currently available commercially. The mechanical design of the system featured a novel 8 axis alignment system. A full set of capture, analysis, and post
processing software was developed providing custom analysis systems for ophthalmic OCT imaging, expanding the current capabilities of the technology. A large clinical trial was undertaken to test the dynamics of contact lens edge interaction with the cornea in-vivo. The interaction between lens edge design, lens base curvature, post insertion times and edge positions was investigated. A novel method for correction of optical distortion when assessing lens indentation was also demonstrated.
Modification of Current Systems: A commercial autorefractor, the WAM-5500, was modified with the addition of extra hardware and a custom software and firmware solution to produce a system that was capable of measuring dynamic accommodative response to various stimuli in real time. A novel software package to control the data capture process was developed allowing real time monitoring of data by the practitioner, adding considerable functionality of the instrument further to the standard system. The device was used to assess the accommodative response differences between subjects who had worn UV blocking contact lens for 5 years, verses a control group that had not worn UV blocking lenses. While the standard static measurement of accommodation showed no differences between the two groups, it was determined that the UV blocking group did show better accommodative rise and fall times (faster), thus demonstrating the benefits of the modification of this commercially available instrumentation. Portable and Cost effective Systems: A new instrument was developed to expand the capability of the now defunct Keeler Tearscope. A device was developed that provided a similar capability in allowing observation of the reflected mires from the tear film surface, but with the added advantage of being able to record the observations. The device was tested comparatively with the tearscope and other tear film break-up techniques, demonstrating its potential. In Conclusion: This work has successfully demonstrated the advantages of interdisciplinary research between engineering and ophthalmic research has provided new and novel instrumented solutions as well as having added to the sum of scientific understanding in the ophthalmic field.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJames Wolffsohn (Supervisor) & Mark Prince (Supervisor)


  • ophthalmic optical coherence tomography
  • ophthalmic engineering
  • dynamic accommodation measurement
  • tearfilm break up measurement
  • grand seiko WAM-5500

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