Interferometry and ophthalmics at the College of Optical Sciences

John E. Greivenkamp, Gregory A. Williby, Eric P. Goodwin, Brian C. Primeau, Kyle C. Heideman, Jason D. Micali, Russell T. Spaulding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


A long-term research program has been in place at the College of Optical Sciences to apply interferometry to ophthalmic applications. These unique systems have been developed in response to industrial need. The first system is a transmission Mach-Zehnder interferometer used to measure the transmitted wavefront of a contact lens while it is submersed in saline. This interferometer allows the refractive power distribution of the lens to be measured. A second system makes use of a low-coherence interferometer to measure the index of refraction of contact lens materials. This task is complicated by the fact that the material is only available in very thin, flexible samples, and because the sample must remain hydrated in saline during the measurement. A third system also makes use of low-coherence interferometry to characterize the surface profile of both surfaces of a contact lens. Combined with index information, a complete model of the contact lens can be produced. Two additional interferometers examine the dynamics of fluid layers on the surface of a contact lens (in vitro) and of the tear film on the surface of the cornea (in vivo). Both systems are instantaneous phase shifting Twyman-Green interferometers. The evolution and changes to the fluid surface is measured at video rates with sub-wavelength precision. This paper tells the story of this research program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFifty Years of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona
EditorsJohn E. Greivenkamp, Eustace L. Dereniak, Harrison H. Barrett
ISBN (Electronic)9781628412130
StatePublished - 2014
Event50 Years of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 19 2014Aug 20 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Other50 Years of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Contact Lenses
  • Cornea
  • Index Measurement
  • Interferometry
  • Low Coherence Interferometry
  • Ophthalmics
  • Tear Film
  • Whole Lens Reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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