Atlanta-based DigitalVision Systems, LLC (“DVS”) is developing the VisionOptimizer (“DVO”), a virtual refracting platform for diagnosing vision disorders and procuring customized eyeglasses that will provide better vision and viewing comfort than conventional eyewear procured using error-prone phoropter measurements. The DVO is the industry’s first vertically-integrated exam-product solution for delivering premium vision care and corrective eyeglasses.
DVS was founded by Keith P. Thompson, MD, an entrepreneur/inventor with specific expertise in physiological optics. In 2009, DVS was selected as a VentureLab Company, a Georgia Tech program that provides financial support to start-ups deemed to have strong commercial potential through a competitive selection process. The VisionOptimizer is being developed through a collaboration with Georgia Tech Research Institute’s (GTRI) Electro-Optical Systems Lab (EOSL), a leading developer of advanced optical technologies for the Department of Defense and industry.
Patients will use the DVO’s patent-pending Preview, Compare, and Select technology to interactively choose and optimize the design of their corrective lenses under natural, real-world viewing conditions. Vision testing and fitting information is transmitted electronically to the optical laboratories of lens manufacturing partners who will fabricate lenses using digital free-form generators according to proprietary DVO measurements.
The DVO will differentiate the practices of Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) and optical retailers and provide the vision care consumer with a remarkable experience and with eyeglasses that optimize vision and wearing comfort. Lens manufacturing partners such as Essilor, Zeiss, Hoya, Transitions, VSP, and others can offer a new generation of premium-priced, fully customized, differentiated products that are co-branded with DVS.
The Digital VisionOptimizer™ is an electro-optical instrument designed for installation in the 8’ x 10’ patient exam lane of independent ECPs and optical retailers. The DVO will replace the functions of the conventional phoropter and eye chart and add novel, patented features for diagnosing vision disorders. The DVO may be used to demonstrate the eyesight that will be provided by different lens designs and lens treatments and it can also serve as a platform for procuring proprietary, customized corrective eyewear.
Patients can use the patent-pending Preview, Compare, and Select™ feature to compare the vision that a DVS-procured correction will provide compared to their existing prescription and to see the benefits provided by premium lens features, such as the reduction in glare that provided by photochromic lenses.
Following the DVO exam, practitioners can chose between “printing out” a conventional spectacles prescription or using the DVO’s Internet connection to the Company’s servers to place electronically transmitted orders for eyeglasses to the participating optical laboratory of his choice where spectacle lenses will be fabricated using digital free-form lens generators based upon the DVO’s proprietary measurements.
During in-house trials conducted with early stage DVO prototypes, the Company demonstrated that the DVO platform has the potential to procure corrective eyeglasses that will provide better vision than eyeglasses presently worn in 90% of tested subjects. The DVO exam process was also strongly preferred over the phoropter by both patients and ECPs.
In the DVO, images of testing targets or real-world scenes are created by high resolution digital displays. These images then pass through the DVO’s wavefront generators, which are located in a tower assembly above the patient’s head. In contrast to the fixed power lenses in the phoropter lens-dial, the DVO incorporates computer-controlled, continuously-variable power lenses (CVPLs) that can be adjusted to one-hundredth of a diopter (0.01D), thereby providing twenty-five times the resolution of conventional phoropters. A spatially-resolved refractometer in the wavefront generator measures higher order aberrations of the patient’s visual system.
Images are projected from the wavefront generator to the DVO’s concave viewport mirror where they are reflected to the patient’s eyes. This architecture causes the corrective optics of the CVPLs to be relayed to the patient’s spectacle plane, permitting a “phantom lens” or “virtual refraction” to be performed under natural viewing conditions free from obstructing instruments or head restraints. To the patient, it appears as if “phantom lenses” or “invisible spectacles” are placed before their eyes, creating a novel and unique experience. For near vision testing, the mirror is directed downward, deflecting the beams into a near-viewing accessory that provides the appropriate divergence for realistic near viewing.
Two stereo cameras above the viewport mirror provide input to an eye and head tracking system that maintains alignment of the optical system during the DVO exam and increases measurement accuracy by adjusting the power of the CVPLs as a function of eye position. The DVO permits patients to experience natural viewing conditions and normal patient movements throughout all portions of the exam and eliminates the need to look through the small viewing apertures of the phoropter.
During the VisionOptimizer exam, patients provide interactive feedback through the VisionOptimizer’s VisionDial™ or through conventional verbal responses to the operator. Earlier testing revealed that patients prefer this interactive feature compared to the forced choice response required during the phoropter exam (“which is better, one or two?”).