Interferometer and analysis methods for the in vitro characterization of dynamic fluid layers on contact lenses

Brian C. Primeau, John E. Greivenkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The anterior refracting surface of the eye when wearing a contact lens is the thin fluid layer that forms on the surface of the contact lens. Under normal conditions, this fluid layer is less than 10 μm thick. The fluid layer thickness and topography change over time and are affected by the material properties of the contact lens and may affect vision quality and comfort. An in vitro method of characterizing dynamic fluid layers applied to contact lenses mounted on mechanical substrates has been developed by use of a phase-shifting Twyman-Green interferometer. This interferometer continuously measures light reflected from the surface of the fluid layer, allowing precision analysis of the dynamic fluid layer. Movies showing this fluid layer behavior can be generated. Quantitative analysis beyond typical contact angle or visual inspection methods is provided. Different fluid and contact lens material combinations have been evaluated, and variations in fluid layer properties have been observed. This paper discusses the interferometer design and analysis methods used. Example measurement results of different contact lens are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063601
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Contact lens
  • Fluid layer
  • Interferometry
  • Tear film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Engineering


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