Lens innovation goes global

The success of Flinders University Optometry’s innovative Watkins Fundus Lens has been elevated to a global level with its acceptance as an international standard item of ophthalmic equipment.

The Watkins Fundus Lens, an efficient new device for examining the retina of the eye, has been applauded for its high resolution over a wide field of view and clever design that enables easy use by optometrists.

The lens has been adopted by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness as a recommended standard item of ophthalmic equipment.

This agency coordinates the management of global eye care, which includes the World Health Organisation and all Non-Government Organisations involved in the world-wide prevention of blindness.

Associate Professor Rod Watkins, of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders University.
Associate Professor Rod Watkins, of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders University.

“It’s a real world solution for a global problem,” says Associate Professor Rod Watkins of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders University.

“We introduced characteristics to the lens that are really important for people who use it – designing it for easier use and with higher resolution. It’s a significant step forward.”

The lens has attracted international sales and is being manufactured by an Adelaide company, Scan Optics Pty Ltd, through an arrangement negotiated by the university’s commercialisation arm Flinders Partners.

It available for sale through Flinders Vision, at Bedford Park – an optometry clinic, training facility and innovative equipment specialist which is owned and run by Flinders University.

The Watkins Fundus Lens
The Watkins Fundus Lens

In recent years Scan Optics has also designed, developed and manufactured a lightweight head mount called an Indirect Ophthalmoscope.

“Feedback from Flinders University during the design process helped enormously with the progress of this apparatus,” says Scan Optics CEO Ms Anjula Thaper.

Scan Optics is also working with Flinders Optometry to develop a model eye simulator for teaching some eye examination procedures.

Flinders research and development of the Watkins Fundus Lens involved extensive consultation with users and the university’s optometry students.

Its design is the product of research and development by Flinders Optical using innovative US-based Zemax modelling software – a powerful connection that underlines the strong ties between Flinders University and commercial enterprises.

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