Wavefront Diagnostic Technology
Wavefront technology was pioneered for astronomy and physics to aid in reducing aberrations or imperfections in the optical systems of telescopes and laser devices. In much the same way, wavefront-sensing devices are being used to produce an accurate picture of the optical imperfections found in the human eye. This technology differs from traditional testing methods in its ability to measure the entire optical system of the eye, instead of simply the front surface of the eye as is the case with most corneal topography diagnostic equipment.
Wavefront technology is an emerging technology and the ophthalmic community is still uncertain about the ways in which the new technology will impact current and future refractive surgical patients. It is a good possibility that once wavefront measurements are interfaced with the Excimer laser, patients with higher order aberrations may experience better results than possible with today’s diagnostic technology. It is also likely that post-operative patients with residual refractive errors may benefit from a wavefront-guided enhancement in the future.
At Memorial Eye Institute, our surgeons strive to stay at the forefront of technology and are currently involved with evaluating various methods of waveform data analysis. From this point, we hope to use this knowledge to correct higher order aberrations in post-surgical patients and identify future patients who will benefit from this technology.
How it works
Light travels in a procession of flat sheets known as wavefronts. These wavefronts enter the eye, pass through the entire optical system (the cornea, lens and retina) and then reflected back. When the optical system has perfect refracting surfaces, these wavefronts exit the eye as regular, flat sheets. But when the cornea is irregular or the lens is imperfect, higher-order aberrations are created, and the wavefronts exit the eye as irregular, curved sheets.
Wavefront technology compares these curved sheets to a perfect wavefront. The system then determines what adjustments need to be made in order to produce a crisply focused image on the retina.