Sharp picture

A technique used by astronomers is being used to produce better contact lenses

Published: Friday 15 September 2000

it is a case of astronomy coming to the aid of medicine. A technique used by astronomers known as adaptive optics is being applied to the human eye to get a sharper picture and possibly better contact lenses. Adaptive optics is the technique by which astronomers correct the blurred images in their telescopes caused by atmospheric turbulence. This is done with the aid of a 'deformable' mirror that changes its shape to correct for the distortion caused by the atmosphere.

Now D Williams at the University of Rochester has used the same approach to get the most accurate map of the retina. Further, scientists at the University of Rochester and at Bausch and Lomb are working on the problem of using a deformable mirror which will use the information previously gathered about the imperfections in the eye to correct for them. Apart form designing better contact lenses, this approach will also prove to be very useful in the diagnosis of retinal diseases ( The American Institute of Physics, ).

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