Aston University collaborated with the world’s first manufacturer of intraocular lenses (IOLs), Rayner Intraocular Lenses, to come up with the next generation of lenses that provide patients a high-quality full range of vision without the requirement of spectacles.
The Worthing-based company, which also develops and manufactures ophthalmic medical devices like delivery systems and eye drops, made use of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to access the University’s special sector-leading expertise and facilities.
A KTP is considered to be a three-way collaboration between an academic partner, a business and a highly qualified graduate, known as a KTP associate. The UK-wide program aids businesses to enhance their competitiveness and productivity via the better usage of knowledge, technology and skills. Aston University is known to be the leading KTP provider inside the Midlands.
The project went a lot further from its initial scope and was evaluated as outstanding by Innovate UK, the highest possible accolade. The primary results of the KTP are the development of a lens-stretching device that can mechanically imitate the focusing mechanism of the human eye and the development of an artificial capsule module. This is needed for testing and operating the new lens. The making of the artificial module has eliminated the requirement to utilize human or porcine alternatives, which would need surgical preparation.
The lens-stretcher system needed specialist knowledge to construct algorithms to trigger and control the movement characteristics of its motor, like acceleration, speed and duration. Furthermore, the special apparatus also needed the design and manufacture of bespoke parts via 3D printing — both the automation and design capability developed knowledge that was new to the company at the starting of this project.
The KTP program is a great opportunity to join forces to explore challenging elements of science-driven developments. We could not be more satisfied with the whole experience with this KTP project and are proud of what we have achieved so far.
Otavio Gomes, Research Program Manager, Rayner Intraocular Lenses
Academics from Aston University’s College of Health and Life Sciences provided this KTP. The team includes Professor James Wolffsohn, a world-leading expert in ophthalmic research, and Professor Leon Davies, a UK-registered optometrist and academic whose research in Physiological Optics has resulted in gaining better insights into ocular accommodation (or eye focus) in the young and aging eye.
This KTP program has taken a long-running relationship between Rayner and Aston University and raised it to a new and exciting level of innovative collaboration. The KTP associate has flourished through the developmental opportunities and has been employed by the University to continue the collaboration.
James Wolffsohn, Professor and Head, School of Optometry, Aston University
The KTP has resulted in the submission of two academic publications and the development of a special intraocular lens testing rig. Also, the project result will be combined into Aston’s curriculum, thereby allowing future graduates to comprehend the cutting edge of future ophthalmic innovation.
Senior mechanical engineer and KTP associate Dr. Huidong Wei was preselected for the Future Leader prize in the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) Best of the Best Awards. The judges noted Dr. Huidong had illustrated excellent leadership skills above and beyond the exceedingly high expectations already in position for KTP associates.