Apr. 22, 2010 Jaume Pauné, a graduate of the Master's Degree in Optometry and Vision Sciences at the UPC-Barcelona Tech's College of Optics and Optometry, has designed an innovative new contact lens that will improve the vision quality of thousands of people without surgery.
The Spanish Association of Opticians and Optometrists has granted its National Award to Mr. Pauné for his innovative work in this field.
Pauné's design is the first contact lens capable of correcting hyperopia without refractive surgery by means of corneal reshaping, also known as orthokeratology or ortho-K. This technique uses rigid gas-permeable contact lenses to reshape the cornea to correct vision defects such as myopia, stigmatism and mild to moderate hyperopia without surgery. Each patient is fitted with unique lenses that are custom-made for his or her eyes.
Perfect vision, without surgery
For the sake of comfort, the patient wears the contact lenses only at night. The lens works by applying pressure to the tear film that coats the outside of the cornea. This pressure changes the shape of the cornea by about 20 µm, or about half the width of a strand of human hair. In the morning, the patient removes the lenses and is able to see perfectly. The results are the same as with refractive surgery, but are temporary. These new contact lenses, developed as part of a master's thesis by Jaume Pauné, are being sold at an initial price of €1000, which includes the cost of designing unique lenses to fit each cornea, and €400 for annual replacement lenses.
The lenses are being marketed in collaboration with Atenas Vision, the distributor for Spain and Portugal, and the French laboratory Precilens, which manufactures the lenses under the name PauneLens.
Jaume Pauné developed this innovative new contact lens using existing ortho-K technology. In 2005, at an international contact lens conference in the United States, Pauné saw the presentation of the first ortho-K lens to be developed for hyperopia, which ultimately was never introduced on the market. His interest piqued, Pauné began experimenting with the idea of manufacturing such a lens. In 2008, he enrolled in the UPC-Barcelona Tech's Master's Degree in Optometry and Vision Sciences, which required him to complete a master's thesis.
In the course of his research for the thesis, he reviewed the literature and decided to design and manufacture a new model of contact lens, which he tested on ten people. One of these patients, an individual determined to find a solution to ongoing vision problems, tried six different models of the lens, each for a period of one week. With this patient, Pauné found the key to developing the first effective contact lens for hyperopia. In the process, he discovered that his technical and scientific principles were different from those of contact lens models used for myopia.
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