Research team

Translational Neurosciences (TNW)

Expertise

In the coming years the VOLANTIS research group, plans to conduct several studies related to visual optics and ocular biomechanics. Overall, these studies may be grouped into three topics. The first is refractive development and eye modelling, which studies how the eye grows and how this can be described as a mathematical model. Such models will look at e.g. how during eye growth the different components of ocular biometry interact with each other to first bring the eye in focus ('emmetropia') and then maintain this condition as the eye continues to grow. Other studies look at what happens if such a balance is disrupted or how it is accomplished in pathological eyes (e.g. premature infants or infants operated for cataract). Within the European OBERON project, we will also develop a new type of model that combines the biomechanics of the eye with its optical function as a platform for testing new treatments in virtual clinical trials. This 'opto-biomechanical' model will need close interactions with our European partners. The next study topic is keratoconus, a disease that gradually deforms the cornea, leading to a considerable loss in visual quality. Early detection of the disease and its possible progression is very important in its management as it allows the patients to preserve a higher visual quality through timely treatment. To this end, we are working on machine learning systems that can tell ophthalmologists whether an eye has keratoconus and, if so, if it is in a progressive state. Another project looks at improving the popular 'crosslinking' treatment that increases corneal elasticity and stops the progression. To do this, we need to develop corneal elasticity maps that can inform ophthalmologists what areas of the cornea need treatment. Although the current methods to develop such maps are very computationally intensive, we will use new methods that have not yet been tried to speed up this process from several hours to minutes, making it clinically useful. Finally, we will study straylight and dark adaptation, which refers to being blinded by bright lights ('glare') and the time needed to recover afterwards. These phenomena can play a major role in traffic safety as drivers may be blinded by the headlights of oncoming cars. Since it is not yet understood at what level of glare the safety risks for safe driving become too high, we will organize a study to test the effect of a bright light source on performance in a driving simulator in a darkened room. The outcomes of these experiments will later be formulated as advice to legislative authorities to improve traffic safety.

Visual Optics. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2026

Abstract

In the coming years the VOLANTIS research group, plans to conduct several studies related to visual optics and ocular biomechanics. Overall, these studies may be grouped into three topics. The first is refractive development and eye modelling, which studies how the eye grows and how this can be described as a mathematical model. Such models will look at e.g. how during eye growth the different components of ocular biometry interact with each other to first bring the eye in focus ('emmetropia') and then maintain this condition as the eye continues to grow. Other studies look at what happens if such a balance is disrupted or how it is accomplished in pathological eyes (e.g. premature infants or infants operated for cataract). Within the European OBERON project, we will also develop a new type of model that combines the biomechanics of the eye with its optical function as a platform for testing new treatments in virtual clinical trials. This 'opto-biomechanical' model will need close interactions with our European partners. The next study topic is keratoconus, a disease that gradually deforms the cornea, leading to a considerable loss in visual quality. Early detection of the disease and its possible progression is very important in its management as it allows the patients to preserve a higher visual quality through timely treatment. To this end, we are working on machine learning systems that can tell ophthalmologists whether an eye has keratoconus and, if so, if it is in a progressive state. Another project looks at improving the popular 'crosslinking' treatment that increases corneal elasticity and stops the progression. To do this, we need to develop corneal elasticity maps that can inform ophthalmologists what areas of the cornea need treatment. Although the current methods to develop such maps are very computationally intensive, we will use new methods that have not yet been tried to speed up this process from several hours to minutes, making it clinically useful. Finally, we will study straylight and dark adaptation, which refers to being blinded by bright lights ('glare') and the time needed to recover afterwards. These phenomena can play a major role in traffic safety as drivers may be blinded by the headlights of oncoming cars. Since it is not yet understood at what level of glare the safety risks for safe driving become too high, we will organize a study to test the effect of a bright light source on performance in a driving simulator in a darkened room. The outcomes of these experiments will later be formulated as advice to legislative authorities to improve traffic safety.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Opto-Biomechanical Eye Research Network (OBERON). 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

The eye is a biological tissue with optical and biomedical properties that govern the way the eye refracts light, focuses that light onto the retina and can dynamically alter that focus over a range of distances. This impressive flexibility results from the delicate way in which the mechanical properties of the eye very precisely affect its optics. These properties vary considerably between individuals and can alter over time in response to visual demands, as well as with eye growth, ageing and pathology. The origins of these biomechanical changes over time are very poorly understood, however, and point at a need for answers, given the increase in life expectancy and in societal demands for high quality vision. To address these issues, we present the first European collaboration that brings together a group of scientists that work on the optics and biomechanics of the eye, cover a broad range of disciplines and skills. This highly interdisciplinary consortium will also create a training network to give young researchers the opportunity to learn from renowned experts on ocular opto-mechanics, share their learning experiences and take advantage of placements in Universities, hospitals and industry. This will give them a wide and novel skill set to translate their research to scientific, industrial, or clinical applications, such as a new generation intraocular implants for cataract surgery, biologically relevant eye models that mimic the eye at any age, and novel treatment therapies that can control, reduce or ultimately prevent refractive error from occurring. These anticipated innovations will lead to wide-reaching and pioneering advances to enhance our understanding of the interrelationship between ocular optics and biomechanics. From this, the young researchers will emerge with multi-disciplinary, versatile skills, be highly employable, able to address skills shortages, be leaders in vision science and pioneer new industries in optical design and modelling.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of a Phase Contrast Aberroscope 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2001

Abstract

The principles of phase contrast microscopy are used to map the aberrations of the human eye's optical system. There are reasons to belief this will result in a very fast and accurate method to determine eye aberrations.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

    01/10/1998 - 30/09/1999

    Abstract

    Researcher(s)

    Research team(s)