In many developing countries there might be only one eye care professional for every million residents. According to some experts, easily correctable vision problems can help those afflicted move from poverty to self-sufficiency. That is why U.K.-based Adlens developed affordable, adjustable eyeglasses that correct 80% of the refractive vision errors encountered by people in the developing world.
Using SolidWorks software, Adlens engineers created a layered lens that enables wearers to dial up custom prescription eyeglasses with no help from an optician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist. Under guidance of a trained person such as a community health worker, Adlens’ adaptive eyeglasses adjust with the turn of a knob to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and presbyopia (loss of focus). For people who won’t encounter an eye care professional in their whole lives, Adlens adaptive eyeglasses are a new lease on a productive life.
Adlens engineers used SolidWorks to design a four-layer polycarbonate eyeglass lens. Two rigid lenses enclose a cavity housing a flexible third lens that contains oil. Knobs on the eyeglass frames pump the transparent oil in or out of the lens, where the middle layer flexes to provide the optical power the wearer needs. Then the wearer simply removes the levers and the adjustment knobs to lock in the prescription.
Creating a mechanism delicate enough for fine adjustments yet durable enough to survive heat, dust, and transportation over long distances was challenging, said Adlens Product Designer Alex Edginton. The software enabled the Adlens engineering team to experiment with designs that would balance precision and ruggedness.
“Structural integrity and durability are significant considerations for us. Rwanda, for example, has a range of environmental conditions. The lens and adjuster mechanisms are designed and tested to cope with the harsh conditions they will be subjected to,” Edginton said. “SolidWorks enabled us to evaluate new designs quickly and easily. We used the 3D data to visualize concepts, create rapid prototypes, and produce finished components. The software was particularly helpful in understanding the interaction of each component in the product. We’re putting much more function than usual into a pair of spectacles with the adjustable lenses, seals, and mechanisms which are assemblies of complex, precision components. Optimally fitting them together was critical.”
Filed Under: 3D CAD, Software, Vision • machine vision • cameras + lenses • frame grabbers • optical filters