Macular Degeneration Help with Optical Physics

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Macular Degeneration Help with Optical Physics

Maine Retina Specialist Scott Steidl, M.D. commented on how the application of optical physics might be helpful to patients with macular degeneration in regaining some functioning vision to overcome the visual distortion caused by AMD. “While the key to maintaining eye health and vision as we age-especially regarding macular degeneration-is having regular eye exams, there are still a growing number of patients who experience a disturbing distortion and twisting of their vision resulting from macular degeneration,” explained Dr. Steidl.

Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn described a potential application of what is a dynamic “translator” for the particular distortion a patient experiences either in handheld computers or an optical corrective lens. “We routinely use the Amsler Grid, a graph-paper-like pattern to diagnose AMD-Dr. Kohn suggested that the Amsler grid could also be used to develop an optical correction,” said Dr. Steidl.

When people with healthy eyes look at the Amsler Grid, they see its straight horizontal and vertical lines, with a dot at center.  Patients with AMD, however, often perceive a distortion about two or three centimeters in diameter in the center.


Dr. Kohn has initiated the development of software that lets an AMD patient, using a mouse, pull the virtual lines until he or she perceives the grid as “perfect,” yielding reversal of the specific distortion a person experiences. Dr. Kohn then uses these results to create a correction for that patient. In one experimental device, a handheld computer scans the printed page, using software to perform dynamic compensation, distorting the text to make it readable for patients. In addition, Dr. Kohn uses of a slab of optical material to fabricate the visual correction so that AMD patients could hold the optical slab of refractive material over text, pictures or reading material, just like the magnifying glass people use for seeing small type—only the surface of Kohn’s slab resembles ocean currents or waves that reverse the distortion.

“These are very exciting ideas and offer promise to help us deal with the visual distortion caused by macular degeneration,” offered Dr. Steidl.

To learn more about age related macular degeneration (AMD) at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine feel free to call us at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.

Eyecare Medical Group is a leading ophthalmology practice in Portland, Maine staffed by a team of eye care specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained glaucoma specialists, retina specialists, cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants, (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.
Eyecare Medical Group is conveniently located for patients from throughout Maine including Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgeton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.