The Goals of the OPTICAL Project

 * Overview
 * Recovery of corneal topography (shape) from videokeratograph images
 * Visualization of corneal topography
 * Design and specification of contact lenses


The goal of the OPTICAL project is to develop new geometric modeling and scientific visualization techniques for curved optical surfaces which will benefit researchers and clinicians in the fields of optometry, ophthalmology, and vision science. This interdisciplinary group involves members of the Computer Science Division, School of Optometry and Vision Science Group at Berkeley as well as others further afield. With this combined expertise, we hope to bring to bear ideas from computer graphics, modeling and simulation on a variety of problems involving human vision.

Currently, our three main projects are:

Recovery of corneal topography (shape) from videokeratograph images

The cornea is the clear fibrous tissue forming the front surface of the eye. Its shape is very important in determining visual acuity. The shape is also important for fitting contact lenses and performing corneal surgery. One method for measuring the shape of the cornea is to use a videokeratograph. This device projects a pattern onto the cornea and records the reflected image. The image is then analyzed to recover the shape information.

We have developed a new analysis algorithm that has several advantages compared to current approaches: it is more accurate, it directly recovers position of the cornea, and it produces a continuous map over the entire surface. To develop this algorithm, we have assimilated ideas from a variety of fields, including ray-tracing (computer graphics and optics), smooth B-spline surfaces (computer modeling) and simulation.

Visualization of corneal topography

After measuring the shape of the cornea, it is important to be able to display the results in a manner that highlights the important features of the surface and is understandable to viewers with a wide variety of backgrounds. We have been investigating a number of different visualization techniques. Some of these are based on 2D images, whereas others fully exploit the 3D graphics capabilities of current workstations. Our software visualization suite demonstrates some of the results.

Design and specification of contact lenses

We have found that procedures for fitting and manufacturing contact lens use only very simple models of the cornea. With our improved method for finding corneal topography, we have opened the way to develop contact lenses that are more precisely designed with an individual's cornea in mind. The problems we are currently investigating are how to assist a clinician in the design process and how to specify a more complex contact lens than is currently used in practice. With access to a wealth of computer aided geometric design knowledge, we feel that we are well positioned to develop the contact lens of the future.

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