A new instrument developed by Dr. Klaus Ehrmann, Director of Technology at Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) may enable practitioners to measure ocular discomfort within two to three minutes then inform their diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
Dr. Ehrmann and colleagues have developed an instrument that propels small droplets of sterile liquid through a micro-valve onto the surface of the eye. The sensitivity threshold is established by increasing the intensity of the stimulus until the patient reports a positive response. Mechanical, chemical and thermal stimulation is achieved by adjusting the properties of the liquid. The dedicated hardware and custom written software control all the operating parameters, including ejection pressure, precise position targeting, temperature and droplet size.
The instrument attaches to any slit lamp and, according to a statement issued by BHVI, is easy to use by unskilled operators. With both the patient and the operator being masked to the applied stimuli, more reliable results can be achieved. The new method of corneal stimulation opens a wide range of applications, ranging from detecting abnormalities in corneal sensation to diagnosing corneal diseases and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment options.
Looking beyond the eye, there are further opportunities to explore new research in neurological science, signal processing and cognitive psychology, all facilitated by the unique feature of precise temporal and position control of the stimulus.