Rochester, NY
23 April 2014
 
    Photo: da bzz @ Flickr.com

    There I was, sitting in the chair at a local eye-glass and contacts company, trying my damnedest to get my new contacts in. As a dude, we’re not anywhere near as often playing around with our eyeballs. You ladies have been putting pencils near your orbits since about a year or two before your moms allowed it, don’t lie.

    But me? Well, I couldn’t stop blinking the little bastards straight off my finger and away from their intended targets. Eventually, the woman who was “helping” me got frustrated, tipped my head back and put the damned thing in herself in about two seconds. Fully-extended arm, I’m lucky I’m not blind.

    For the rest of you, contacts are a must-wear. But they come at a cost to your health: dry eye syndrome is quite common amongst contact lens wearers, in part because contacts can get in the way of the eye’s natural ability to keep itself lubricated. This has to do with the way the contact is formed to sit on your eye, a design process which has until now been done largely as guess-work.

    But researchers at RIT aim to change all that with a new set of mathematical algorithms born out of the wizardry known to many as fluid dynamics:

    Ross, who researched fluid mechanics with Eastman Kodak Co. before becoming a professor at RIT, says that the research is a new, purely mathematical approach to looking at the tear film of the eye. “We initially envisioned the lens floating in a sea of tear film, when in fact, this is not the case,” Ross says. “The lenses are 100 to 200 microns thick, while the tear film is only 5 microns thick.”

    Maki and Ross hope that Bausch & Lomb will eventually be able to implement their research into new design processes for their contact lenses.

    So in short, your new contact lenses could very soon make your eyes a whole lot less itchy to wear. Which is a great comfort, especially to those one or two of you who have accidentally fallen asleep with them in…

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