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UH optometrists make custom contact lenses for long-underserved patients
Date:5/13/2009

While the majority of patients with common vision problems can find glasses or contact lenses fairly easily, others who suffer from diseases of the eye that affect the focus of light have more limited options and may simply have to learn to live with poor vision.

At the University of Houston's College of Optometry, a team of researchers has set out to address the latter population's long-underserved needs by developing custom contact lenses.

"The lenses we make are made for you. It's like putting a fingerprint in the optics. It would not work for another individual with the same disease. It's a custom fit, a designer lens," said Dr. Jason Marsack, an assistant professor of optometry.

Supported by a grant of $1.25 million from the National Eye Institute, Marsack's team aims to give patients with elevated amounts of what are known as "higher-order aberrations" the quality of life long enjoyed by those with common vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The grant will help translate the results the team has realized in laboratory trials into products that will be available for widespread clinical use.

"Every eye has aberrations that cannot be corrected with glasses," explained Dr. Raymond A. Applegate, a professor of optometry, but, in the normal eye, most of the time they're not particularly limiting.

The lenses the team is making not only incorporate sphere and cylinder, which are commonly corrected in glasses and contact lenses, but they also correct an entire other family of aberrations, which are induced by disease, trauma or surgical interventions, Marsack said.

To the naked eye, the lenses don't look all that different from the soft contact lenses that are distributed en masse, but each one is actually unique.

"One of the issues with getting a contact lens out of a clinic is you that have to work within the parameters of the manufacturers. Let's say with astigm
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Contact: Angela Hopp
ahopp@uh.edu
713-743-8153
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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