Optical physics may provide some help for the vision problems created by macular degeneration. The application of optical physics might be helpful to patients in helping them overcome the visual distortion caused by AMD. “While the key to maintaining eye health and vision as we age-especially regarding macular degeneration-is having regular eye exams, there are still a growing number of patients who experience a disturbing distortion and twisting of their vision resulting from macular degeneration,” explained Milton Kahn, M.D.
Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn described a potential application of what is a dynamic “translator” for the particular distortion a patient experiences either in handheld computers or an optical corrective lens. “We routinely use the Amsler Grid, a graph-paper-like pattern to diagnose AMD-Dr. Kohn suggested that the Amsler grid could also be used to develop an optical correction,” said Dr. Kahn.
When people with healthy eyes look at the Amsler Grid, they see its straight horizontal and vertical lines, with a dot at center. Patients with AMD, however, often perceive a distortion about two or three centimeters in diameter in the center.
Dr. Kohn has initiated the development of software that lets an AMD patient, using a mouse, pull the virtual lines until he or she perceives the grid as “perfect,” yielding reversal of the specific distortion a person experiences. Dr. Kohn then uses these results to create a correction for that patient. In one experimental device, a handheld computer scans the printed page, using software to perform dynamic compensation, distorting the text to make it readable for patients. In addition, Dr. Kohn uses of a slab of optical material to fabricate the visual correction so that AMD patients could hold the optical slab of refractive material over text, pictures or reading material, just like the magnifying glass people use for seeing small type—only the surface of Kohn’s slab resembles ocean currents or waves that reverse the distortion.
“These are very exciting ideas and offer promise to help us deal with the visual distortion caused by macular degeneration,” offered Dr. Kahn.
If you have questions or need an appointment to learn more about macular degeneration and optical physics please call The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999, visit The Eye Care & Surgery Center or facebook.com/eyecareandsurgerycenter.
The Eye Care & Surgery Center is a leading New Jersey eye care practice with offices at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830.