Wearable electronic system offers subjective refraction

November 1, 2015

A new wearable adaptive refractor (VisionFit; Adaptica, Padova, Italy) for subjective refraction combines the features of trial frames and manual and automated phoropters. With this mobile device, patients can be examined while sitting or standing, and the unit itself can be easily transported.

Take-home message: A new wearable adaptive refractor (VisionFit; Adaptica, Padova, Italy) for subjective refraction combines the features of trial frames and manual and automated phoropters. With this mobile device, patients can be examined while sitting or standing, and the unit itself can be easily transported.   

 

By Nancy Groves; Reviewed by Aldo Cocchiglia

Padova, Italy‒The VisionFit (Adaptica Srl, Padova, Italy) wearable adaptive refractor is a mobile, electronic system for performing subjective refraction that combines the features and advantages of a trial frame and manual or automated phoropters. Benefits of this system include greater patient freedom and operator interaction, according to Aldo Cocchiglia, Adaptica's business development director.

The device, which was introduced during summer 2015, consists of a computer-integrated control unit featuring a display screen, keyboard controller, commands, and connectivity capabilities. It also has a wearable electronic frame with two tunable lens sets, each with three adaptive lenses (spherical, cylindrical, and aberration) and additional lens support. The lenses are electronically tuned by the device’s control unit.

The trial frame is available either as an adjustable helmet or a regular trial frame configuration with a Velcro strap.

The technology evolution leading to the VisionFit began in 2012 when Adaptica developed the 2WIN binocular handheld refractometer and vision analyzer, a light, mobile product that provides an objective assessment of visual function, Mr. Cocchiglia said. The company then turned its attention to the limitations of subjective refraction. Observing that the current devices tended to be static, large, heavy, and cumbersome, Adaptica decided to develop a subjective device that was transportable and lightweight with a small footprint, resulting in the VisionFit.

One of the benefits of the new system is that there is more interaction between the doctor or technician and the patient during the refraction. The operator can adjust the device, changing the position and configuration of the optics and asking the patient for feedback. Also, the patient does not have to be seated, looking at an eye chart or other target.

“The patient can be sitting or standing, running or walking, or looking out the window, closer to real-life conditions,” Mr. Cocchiglia said.

In addition, the VisionFit increases peripheral vision and doesn’t occlude or restrict the patient’s field of view as standard phoropters do. Mr. Cocchiglia also noted that the lens power changes continuously rather than step by step, and the resolution can be as low as one 500th of a diopter (0.05 D or 5/100 D).

When the VisionFit is used in combination with Adaptica’s 2WIN binocular system, the operator can perform an objective and subjective refraction in a few minutes. After the 2WIN measures binocular vision, the data are immediately transferred to the VisionFit via WiFi. The VisionFit then performs the regular steps of subjective refraction.

One of the features that might motivate doctors to acquire the VisionFit is mobility, Mr. Cocchiglia said. There is a trend in eye care to bring refraction to patients rather than patients to refraction, he explained, and since the VisionFit does not require any infrastructure or special installation procedures, it can be used in a variety of environments and diagnostic contexts.

The VisionFit is a “quantum leap” over other phoropters, Mr. Cocchiglia said, likening it to the iPhone when it was introduced 10 years ago. Although many people already had cellphones, the iPhone offered many innovative features that consumers quickly came to consider essential and that are now standard on smartphones. The VisionFit, too, could be the type of device that heralds a wave of change in subjective refraction.

The device was expected to be launched in the United States in October.

 

 

Aldo Cocchiglia

Cocchiglia is business development director for Adaptica.