Title:
HIGH PERFORMANCE, LOW COST MULTIFOCAL LENS HAVING DYNAMIC PROGRESSIVE OPTICAL POWER REGION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An embryonic optical apparatus including a first lens component including a first surface and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface, and a second lens component comprising a flexible element, wherein the flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface, and wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region, thereby resulting in a prescription-quality ophthalmic optical apparatus.



Inventors:
Blum, Ronald D. (Roanoke, VA, US)
Kokonaski, William (Gig Harbor, WA, US)
Application Number:
13/169996
Publication Date:
01/26/2012
Filing Date:
06/27/2011
Assignee:
PIXELOPTICS, INC. (Roanoke, VA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G02C7/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICHLER, MARIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP - West Coast (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An embryonic optical apparatus comprising: a first lens component including: a first surface; and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface, and a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface, wherein the flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface, and wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power of the first lens at at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region, thereby resulting in a prescription-quality ophthalmic optical apparatus.

2. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first lens component is an unfinished or semi-finished lens blank.

3. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least the portion of the second surface that is permanently alterable is permanently alterable such that the second region is transformable to a region of prescription-quality ophthalmic static incremental add power.

4. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable via free forming, surfacing, and/or polishing and/or a combination thereof, to permanently define the optical power of the first lens at least the second region of the second surface, thereby resulting in the prescription-quality ophthalmic optical apparatus.

5. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first region is balloonable in response to pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface.

6. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus further comprises: a channel in fluid communication with a first space located between the first region that is variable moveable and the first surface, the channel being configured to permit movement of fluid through the channel, the fluid generating the pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region.

7. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 6, wherein: the channel is configured such that movement of a fluid through the channel into the first space increases pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region to move the first region away from the first surface; and the channel is configured such that movement of the fluid through the channel out of the first space decreases pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region to move the first region towards the first surface.

8. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 6, wherein the channel extends from at least an edge of the first lens component to the first region.

9. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 8, wherein the channel is defined by the first surface and a surface of the second lens component that is not adhered to the first surface.

10. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 11, wherein an end of the channel distal from the first region is unsealably sealed.

11. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power, corresponding to a distance prescription of an eyeglass wearer, of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface.

12. The embryonic optical apparatus of claim 1, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define a positive optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface.

13. A method of providing an ophthalmic optical apparatus, comprising: obtaining a lens assembly including: a first lens component including: a first surface; and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface, and a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface, wherein the flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface; and after obtaining the lens assembly, permanently altering the second surface to permanently define an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising: before and/or after obtaining the lens assembly, determining a desired add power of the optical apparatus, wherein the action of permanently altering the second surface to permanently change the optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface results in a first add power that is less than the desired add power, and wherein after altering the second surface, a cumulative add power with respect to the light path of the first lens component and the second lens component when the first region of the second lens component is moved away from the first surface to a first position, substantially equals the desired add power.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein the first position of the first region corresponds to about a maximum distance of movement of the first region away from the first surface. wherein after altering the second surface, a cumulative add power with respect to the light path of the first lens component and the second lens component when the second lens component is moved to substantially conform to and rest upon the first surface, substantially equals a first add power.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the lens assembly includes a fluid channel that extends from at least an edge of the lens assembly to the first region.

17. The method of claim 13, wherein the fluid channel is defined by the first surface and a surface of the second lens component that is not adhered to the first surface.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein an end of the channel distal from the first region is unsealably sealed, the method further comprising: unsealing the end of the channel distal from the first region after altering the second surface.

19. The method of claim 16, further comprising: sealing the end of the channel distal from the first region prior to altering the second surface; and unsealing the end of the channel distal from the first region after altering the second surface.

20. The method of claim 13, further comprising: after altering the second surface, fitting the resulting altered lens assembly into a frame of eyeglasses.

21. The method of claim 16, further comprising: after altering the second surface, fitting the resulting altered lens assembly into a frame of eyeglasses including a fluid channel; and placing the fluid channel of the lens assembly into fluid communication with a fluid channel of the frame.

22. The method of claim 13, wherein the action of permanently altering the second surface to permanently define an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface includes imparting a static progressive add power region at least the second region.

23. A method, comprising: providing a lens assembly including: a first lens component including: a first surface; and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface, and a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface, wherein the flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface; before and/or after and/or while providing the lens assembly, providing and indication that the first lens component is to be permanently altered in a manner that permanently defines an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the lens assembly includes a fluid channel that extends from at least an edge of the lens assembly to the first region.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein the fluid channel is defined by the first surface and a surface of the second lens component that is not adhered to the first surface.

26. The method of claim 23, wherein an end of the channel distal from the first region is unsealably sealed.

27. An ophthalmic optical apparatus comprising: low add power progressive addition lens including a first radius of curvature providing a progressive addition power to a maximum first add power; a membrane located on a first surface of the low add power progressive addition lens including an expandable portion expandable from a first state in which the expandable portion has a second radius of curvature to a second state in which the expandable portion has a third radius of curvature; a fluidic system configured to expand the expandable portion from the first state to the second state and contract the expandable portion from the second state to the first state, wherein the second radius of curvature substantially corresponds to the first radius of curvature such that a maximum cumulative add power of the expandable portion and the low add power progressive addition lens equals about the first add power when the expandable portion is in the first state, wherein the third radius of curvature is different from the first radius of curvature such that the maximum cumulative add power of the expandable portion and the low add power progressive addition lens equals the first add power plus a second add power when the expandable portion is in the second state.

28. The optical apparatus of claim 27, wherein: the fluidic system is configured to permit movement of a fluid into and out of a space formed between the low add power progressive addition lens and the expandable portion to respectively expand the expandable portion from the first state to the second state and contract the expandable portion from the second state to the first state.

29. The optical apparatus of claim 28, wherein the fluidic system comprises a fluid channel that extends from at least an edge of the low add power progressive addition lens to the expandable portion.

30. The optical apparatus of claim 29, wherein the fluid channel is defined by the first surface of the low add power progressive addition lens and the membrane.

31. The optical apparatus of claim 27, wherein: the fluidic system is configured to heat the fluid, thereby expanding the fluid and thus expanding the expandable portion from the first state to the second state; and the fluidic system is configured to cool the fluid, thereby contracting the fluid and thus contracting the expandable portion from the second state to the first state.

32. Eyeglasses, comprising: an optical apparatus according to claim 27; and an eyeglass frame.

33. The eyeglasses of claim 32, further comprising: a controller, wherein the control is configured to automatically control the fluidic system, thereby controlling the expansion and contraction of the expandable portion.

34. The eyeglasses of claim 32, further comprising: a micro pump actuator configured to pump fluid into a space located between the low add power progressive addition lens and the membrane to expand the expandable portion of the membrane.

35. The eyeglasses of claim 33, further comprising: a sensor configured to sense an orientation of the eyeglasses, wherein the sensor is in signal communication with the controller, wherein the controller is configured to control the fluidic system to expand the expandable portion to the second state upon receipt of a signal from the sensor indicative that the eyeglasses are oriented in an orientation indicative that the wearer of the eyeglasses is performing a near point vision task.

36. The eyeglasses of claim 35, wherein the sensor comprises at least one of a tilt switch or an accelerometer.

37. An embryonic optical apparatus comprising: a first lens component including: a first surface; and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface, and a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface, wherein the flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface, and wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of an edge of the first lens component can be permanently removed, thereby resulting in an ophthalmic optical apparatus having a perimeter conforming to an eyeglass frame.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/358,447, filed on Jun. 25, 2010; U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/366,746, filed on Jul. 22, 2010; U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/382,963, filed on Sep. 15, 2010; and U.S. patent application no. 13/050,974, filed on Mar. 18, 2011, the entire disclosure of these applications being incorporated herein by reference for all purposes and in its entirety. This application also claims priority benefit to PCT patent application no. PCT/US2011/029419, filed on Mar. 22, 2011, which claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application no. 61,317,100, filed on Mar. 24, 2010, U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/326,703, filed on Apr. 22, 2010, U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/366,746, filed on Jul. 22, 2010, U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/382,963, filed on Sep. 15, 2010, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/050,974, filed on Mar. 18, 2011, the entire disclosures of these patent applications being incorporated herein by reference for all purposes and in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

Exemplary dynamic lenses include optical devices that utilize a fluid (usually within or in contact with a membrane) to adjust or change the optical properties of a lens are known. These devices typically alter the volume or pressure of the fluid to cause the membrane to change its curvature, thus creating an optical interface with greater or less refractive power at that interface. In these devices, an increase in volume of a fluid contributes to an increase of positive (plus) optical power, and a decrease in volume of the fluid contributes to a reduction of positive (pus) optical power and/or increase of minus (negative) optical power.

However, such fluid lenses often have drawbacks that make them less than ideal, particularly for use in daily applications such in eyeglasses, contact lenses, spectacles, or other ophthalmic devices. For instance, these types of fluid lenses typically require a large volume of fluid to effectively increase the optical power to desired levels over a sufficient optical area, making it difficult to include such lenses in ophthalmic devices and in other optical applications. Also, due in part because of the large amount of fluid that may be required, it may take a relatively long amount of time to alter the focus of the fluid lens to a desired amount of optical power because this volume of fluid must be displaced.

In addition, these types of fluid lenses typically have a limited ability to be customized for astigmatic correction for the wide variety of eyeglass or optical prescriptions of wearers or users, and also provide manufacturers with a limited ability to edge and/or for the fitting height needed. In addition, these fluid lenses provide a limited ability for established wholesale laboratories to process the lenses using their present equipment into the lenses of the correct prescription, shape; size and alignment for the wearer's visual needs and/or requirements.

Moreover, as noted above, the adjustment of the optical power is typically achieved by a change in shape of a membrane, which is difficult to control and maintain, and in some cases (such as when creating parabolic or cylinder shapes) it is extremely difficult to achieve the level of precision desired. Many of these fluid lens have no real safeguard so as to guarantee that it will repeatedly switch to the required optical power for a wearer, meaning that the fluid lens can often over shoot or undershoot the required optical power. If left to the wearer to determine this optical power simply by looking through the fluid lens for clarity, it may also be that case that the wearer will prefer more optical plus or minus optical power than required and therefore over time weaken his or her eyes.

Dynamic lens can be that of fluid lens, air lens, membrane lens, mechanical lens, electronic lens etc. A specific example of a dynamic lens is that of an electro-active lens having an electro-active element that provides dynamic optical power. The electroactive element is buried within a static single vision or multifocal lens. Electroactive lens may have good visual performance, with a small form factor.

BRIEF SUMMARY

In an exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus comprising a first lens component including a first surface, and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface. The embryonic optical apparatus further comprises a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface. The flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface, and the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region, thereby resulting in a prescription-quality ophthalmic optical apparatus.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the first lens component is an unfinished or semi-finished lens blank. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least the portion of the second surface that is permanently alterable is permanently alterable such that the second region is transformable to a region of prescription-quality ophthalmic static incremental add power. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable via free forming, surfacing, and/or polishing and/or a combination thereof, to permanently change the add power of the first lens at least the second region of the second surface, thereby resulting in the prescription-quality ophthalmic optical apparatus. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the first region is balloonable in response to pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus further comprise a channel in fluid communication with a first space located between the first region that is variable moveable and the first surface, the channel being configured to permit movement of fluid through the channel, the fluid generating the pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the channel is configured such that movement of a fluid through the channel into the first space increases pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region to move the first region away from the first surface, and the channel is configured such that movement of the fluid through the channel out of the first space decreases pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region to move the first region towards the first surface. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the channel extends from at least an edge of the first lens component to the first region. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the channel is defined by the first surface and a surface of the second lens component that is not adhered to the first surface. In another exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein an end of the channel distal from the first region is unsealably sealed.

In another embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power, corresponding to a distance prescription of an eyeglass wearer, of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface. In another embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface is permanently alterable to permanently define a positive optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface.

In another embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus comprising a first lens component including a first surface and/or a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface, and a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface. The flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface. The embryonic optical apparatus is configured such that at least a portion of an edge of the first lens component and, optionally, the second lens component, can be permanently removed, thereby resulting in an ophthalmic optical apparatus having a perimeter conforming to an eyeglass frame.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of providing an optical apparatus, comprising obtaining a lens assembly including a first lens component including a first surface and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface. The obtained lens assembly further includes a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface. The flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface. The method further comprises, before and/or after obtaining the lens assembly, determining a desired optical power of the optical apparatus and after obtaining the lens assembly, permanently altering the second surface to permanently define the optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region, to have a first add power that is less than the desired add power, wherein the after altering the second surface, a cumulative add power with respect to the light path of the first lens component and the second lens component when the first region of the second lens component is moved away from the first surface to a first position, substantially equals the desired add power.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein after altering the second surface, a cumulative add power with respect to the light path of the first lens component and the second lens component when the second lens component is moved to substantially conform to and rest upon the first surface, substantially equals the first add power. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the first position of the first region corresponds to about a maximum distance of movement of the first region away from the first surface. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the lens assembly includes a fluid channel that extends from at least an edge of the lens assembly to the first region. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein the fluid channel is defined by the first surface and a surface of the second lens component that is not adhered to the first surface.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, wherein an end of the channel distal from the first region is unsealably sealed, the method further comprises unsealing the end of the channel distal from the first region after altering the second surface. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, the method further comprising sealing the end of the channel distal from the first region prior to altering the second surface, and unsealing the end of the channel distal from the first region after altering the second surfaced.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, further comprising after altering the second surface, fitting the resulting altered lens assembly into a frame of eyeglasses. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method of obtaining an optical apparatus as described above and/or below, further comprising after altering the second surface, fitting the resulting altered lens assembly into a frame of eyeglasses including a fluid channel and placing the fluid channel of the lens assembly into fluid communication with a fluid channel of the frame.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method, comprising providing a lens assembly including a first lens component including a first surface and a second surface on an opposite side of the first lens component from the first surface. The provided lens assembly further comprises a second lens component comprising a flexible element, at least a portion of the second lens component being adhered to the first surface. The flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly with respect to a light path through the first region and the first surface. The method further comprises, before and/or after and/or while providing the lens assembly, providing and indication that the first lens component is to be permanently altered in a manner that permanently defines an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface, the second region being optically aligned with the first region. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method as described above and/or below, wherein the lens assembly includes a fluid channel that extends from at least an edge of the lens assembly to the first region. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method as described above and/or below, wherein the fluid channel is defined by the first surface and a surface of the second lens component that is not adhered to the first surface. In another exemplary embodiment, there is a method as described above and/or below, wherein an end of the channel distal from the first region is unsealably sealed.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is an optical apparatus comprising a low add power progressive addition lens including a first radius of curvature providing a progressive addition power to a maximum first add power, a membrane located on a first surface of the low add power progressive addition lens including an expandable portion expandable from a first state in which the expandable portion has a second radius of curvature to a second state in which the expandable portion has a third radius of curvature and a fluidic system configured to expand the expandable portion from the first state to the second state and contract the expandable portion from the second state to the first state, wherein the second radius of curvature substantially corresponds to the first radius of curvature such that a maximum cumulative add power of the expandable portion and the low add power progressive addition lens equals about the first add power when the expandable portion is in the first state, wherein the third radius of curvature is different from the first radius of curvature such that the maximum cumulative add power of the expandable portion and the low add power progressive addition lens equals the first add power plus a second add power when the expandable portion is in the second state. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an optical apparatus as detailed above and/or below, wherein the fluidic system is configured to permit movement of a fluid into and out of a space formed between the low add power progressive addition lens and the expandable portion to respectively expand the expandable portion from the first state to the second state and contract the expandable portion from the second state to the first state. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an optical apparatus as detailed above and/or below, wherein the fluidic system comprises a fluid channel that extends from at least an edge of the low add power progressive addition lens to the expandable portion. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an optical apparatus as detailed above and/or below, wherein the fluid channel is defined by the first surface of the low add power progressive addition lens and the membrane.

In an exemplary embodiment, there is an optical apparatus as detailed above and/or below, wherein the fluidic system is configured to heat the fluid, thereby expanding the fluid and thus expanding the expandable portion from the first state to the second state, and the fluidic system is configured to cool the fluid, thereby contracting the fluid and thus contracting the expandable portion from the second state to the first state.

In an exemplary embodiment, there are eyeglasses, comprising an optical apparatus as detailed above and/or below, and an eyeglass frame. In an exemplary embodiment, there are eyeglasses as described above and/or below, further comprising, a controller, wherein the control assembly is configured to automatically control the fluidic system, thereby controlling the expansion and contraction of the expandable portion. In an exemplary embodiment, there are eyeglasses as described above and/or below, further comprising, a micro pump actuator configured to pump fluid into a space located between the low add power progressive addition lens and the membrane to expand the expandable portion of the membrane.

In an exemplary embodiment, there are eyeglasses as described above and/or below, further comprising a sensor configured to sense an orientation of the eyeglasses, wherein the sensor is in signal communication with the controller, wherein the controller is configured to control the fluidic system to expand the expandable portion to the second state upon receipt of a signal from the sensor indicative that the eyeglasses are oriented in an orientation indicative that the wearer of the eyeglasses is performing a near point vision task. In an exemplary embodiment, there are eyeglasses as described above and/or below wherein the sensor comprises at least one of a tilt switch or an accelerometer.

In another exemplary embodiment, there is a device and/or apparatus that comprises a dynamic optical lens is provided. A first apparatus includes a first lens component having a first surface and a second surface. The first apparatus further includes a second lens component that comprises a flexible element. The first apparatus also includes a fluid that may be applied between at least a portion of the first lens component and at least a portion of the second lens component. The flexible element of the second lens component comprises a first region. The first region is such that it conforms to the first surface of the first lens component when an amount of fluid between the first surface of the first lens component and the first region is sufficiently low. The first region also does not conform to the first surface of the first lens component when an amount of fluid between the first surface of the first lens component and the second lens component is sufficiently great.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus described above, the flexible element comprises a second region. The first region of the flexible element of the second lens component may conform to the first surface of the first lens component when the fluid between the first region of the flexible element and the first surface is sufficiently low, while at the same time the second region of the flexible element does not conform to the first surface of the first lens component while the fluid between the second region and the first surface is sufficiently great. In some embodiments, the first apparatus includes a reservoir that may contain the fluid that is not located between the first and the second lens components. In some embodiments, the fluid may be applied between the first and second lens components by an actuator.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus described above the first surface further comprises a first optical feature. Preferably, the first region of the flexible element of the first apparatus conforms to the first optical feature when an amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the flexible element is sufficiently low. Preferably, the first region of the flexible element of the first apparatus does not conform to the first optical feature when an amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently great. In some embodiments, the optical feature may comprise any one of, or some combination of, the following: a progressive optical power region; a bifocal; a trifocal; a multi-focal region; an aspherical optical feature; an aspheric region; a rotationally symmetric optical feature; and a non-rotationally symmetric optical feature.

In some embodiments, the first apparatus as described above further includes a first dynamic optical power region. In some embodiments where the first surface of the first lens component includes an optical feature and the first apparatus includes a first dynamic optical power region, the fluid may have an index of refraction that is substantially similar to the index of refraction of the first lens component. Preferably, the index of refraction of the fluid such that the first optical feature does not contribute to the first dynamic optical power region when an amount of the fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently great.

In some embodiments, the first surface of the first lens component of the first apparatus as described above defines a first optical power stop. Preferably, the first optical power stop defines a near vision optical power. Preferably, in embodiments where the first lens component comprises a first optical feature, the first dynamic optical power region is defined by the first optical feature when the fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently low.

In some embodiments, where the first apparatus described above includes a first dynamic optical power region, the first dynamic optical power region is tunable. Preferably, when an amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of flexible element is sufficiently low; the dynamic optical power region is defined by the first optical power stop. As the amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is increased, the dynamic optical power region tunes away from the first optical power stop.

In some embodiments, where the first apparatus described above includes a first dynamic optical power region, a decrease in the volume of fluid between the first lens component and the first region “of the flexible element of the second lens component increases a positive optical power of the dynamic optical power region. In some embodiments, a decrease in the volume of fluid between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element of the second lens component decreases a positive optical power of the dynamic optical power region.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus as described above, the shape of at least a portion of the second lens component is adjustable based on the amount of fluid between the first lens component and the second lens component. Preferably, the second lens component comprises a flexible membrane. Preferably, the flexible membrane comprises biaxially oriented polyethelene terephthalate (available under the trade name Mylar) or urethane. In some embodiments, in the first apparatus as described above, at least a portion of the second lens component is stretchable. In some embodiments, the second lens component or a region thereof is translucent. In some embodiments, the second lens component or a region thereof is transparent. Preferably, the second lens element, or a region thereof, transmits at least 85% of light waves that are incident to a surface. More preferably, the second lens element or a region thereof transmits at least 90% of light waves that are incident to a surface.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus as described above, the first lens component has a first index of refraction, the second lens component has a second index of refraction, and the fluid has a third index of refraction. In some embodiments, the first index of refraction is substantially the same as the second index of refraction. In some embodiments, the first index of refraction is substantially the same as third index of refraction. In some embodiments, the first, the second, and the third index of refraction are substantially the same.

In some embodiments, the first apparatus as described above includes a third lens component having a first surface and a second surface. Preferably, the first lens component and the third lens component are positioned such that a gap exists between the first surface of the first lens component and the first surface of the third lens component. Preferably, at least a portion of the second lens component conforms to at least a portion of the first surface of the third lens component when an amount of the fluid substantially fills the gap between at least a portion of the first lens component and at least a potion of the third lens component. In some embodiments, the first surface of the third lens component defines a second optical power stop. In some embodiments, the second optical stop power stop is for a distance vision optical power.

Embodiments described herein allow for a dynamic lens comprising a fluid that addresses some or all of the deficiencies described above. Embodiments may utilize a fluid which may be added (e.g. applied) or removed from between a first and a second lens component. The first lens component may comprise a first surface having an outer curvature that defines an optical power. The optical power may have any value, including positive value, negative value, and zero value. The second lens component may comprise a flexible element (e.g. a membrane) that has at least a first region that conforms to the outer curvature of the first lens component when the fluid between the first surface and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently low.

When the fluid is substantially removed from between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element, the first region of the flexible element comes into contact with and/or conforms to the outer curvature of the first lens component. When this occurs, the optical power of the dynamic lens (or a region thereof) may be defined by the curvature of the outer surface of the first lens component. This is, any remaining fluid is insignificant in that it does not materially contribute to the dynamic optical power region, and the first region of the flexible element has conformed substantially to have the same curvature as the outer curvature of the first lens component. An index matched fluid may also be used so that when the amount of fluid is sufficiently great in the gap between the first and second lens components, any optical feature on the first surface does not contribute to the optical power of the lens.

Therefore, while comprising a fluid, embodiments may utilize the outer curvature of the first lens component (which may or may not include an optical feature or features), rather than an increase in the volume of fluid in the lens, to add positive (plus) optical power and/or to define the optical power needed for near vision. Moreover, this outer curvature may serve as a curvature template which dictates the dynamic increase of positive (plus) optical power of the dynamic lens.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 3 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 4 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 5 show a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 6 show a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 7 show a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 8 show a cross section of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 9 show a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 10 show a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 11 shows multiple exemplary embodiments of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 12 show a diagram of a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 13 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 14 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 15A shows two side views of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 15B shows two side views of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 16 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 17 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 18 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 19 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 20 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIG. 21 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIGS. 22A-22B show a conceptual side view of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens.

FIGS. 22C-22D show a side view of an exemplary embodiment of an embryonic optical apparatus.

FIG. 23 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of an embryonic optical apparatus.

FIG. 24 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of an optical apparatus.

FIG. 25 shows a flow chart detaining a method of providing an optical apparatus.

FIG. 26 shows a flow chart detaining a method of providing an optical apparatus.

FIG. 27 shows a front view of an exemplary embodiment of an embryonic optical apparatus.

FIG. 28 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of eyeglasses.

FIG. 29 shows a front view of an exemplary embodiment of eyeglasses.

FIG. 30 shows a functional diagram of an exemplary embodiment used in the eyeglasses of FIGS. 28 and 29.

FIG. 31 shows an algorithm used in an exemplary embodiment by a controller located in or on the eyeglasses of FIGS. 28 and 29.

FIG. 32 shows a front view of an exemplary embodiment of an embryonic optical apparatus.

FIG. 33 shows a front view of an exemplary embodiment of an embryonic optical apparatus.

FIG. 34 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of an optical apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention provide a device or apparatus comprising a dynamic lens. Embodiments of a dynamic lens described herein may utilize a fluid in combination with various other optical components, including fixed or rigid optical components and a flexible element (e.g. a flexible membrane), to provide the ability for the lens to obtain multiple optical powers reliably and accurately. Embodiments of the apparatus may thereby provide some of the benefits of traditional dynamic lenses (e.g. permitting multiple optical powers for a single lens), while providing some of the benefits of fixed lenses (e.g. permitting a desired optical power to readily be achieved and easy manufacture of prescription lenses).

Some terms that are used herein are described in further detail as follows:

Add Power: The optical power added to the far distance viewing optical power which is required for clear near distance viewing in a multifocal lens. For example, if an individual has a far distance viewing prescription of −3.00D with a +2.00D add power for near distance viewing then the actual optical power in the near distance portion of the multifocal lens is −1.00D. Add power is sometimes referred to as plus power. Add power may be further distinguished by referring to “near viewing distance add power” which refers to the add power in the near viewing distance portion of the lens and “intermediate viewing distance add power” which refers to the add power in the intermediate viewing distance portion of the lens. Typically, the intermediate viewing distance add power is approximately 50% of the near viewing distance add power. Thus, in the example above, the individual would have +1.00D add power for intermediate distance viewing and the actual total optical power in the intermediate viewing distance portion of the multifocal lens is −2.00D.

Approximately: Plus or minus 10 percent, inclusive. Thus, the phrase “approximately 10 mm” may be understood to mean from 9 mm to 11 mm, inclusive.

Blend Zone: An optical power transition along a peripheral edge of a lens whereby the optical power continuously transitions across the blend zone from a first corrective power, to that of a second corrective power or vice versa. Generally the blend zone is designed to have as small a width as possible. A peripheral edge of a dynamic optic may include a blend zone so as to reduce the visibility of the dynamic optic. A blend zone is utilized for cosmetic enhancement reasons and also to enhance vision functionality. A blend zone is typically not considered a usable portion of the lens due to its high unwanted astigmatism. A blend zone is also known as a transition zone.

Contour Maps: Plots that are generated from measuring and plotting the unwanted astigmatic optical power of a Progressive Addition Lens. The contour plot can be generated with various sensitivities of astigmatic optical power thus providing a visual picture of where and to what extent a Progressive Addition Lens possesses unwanted astigmatism as part of its optical design. Analysis of such maps is typically used to quantify the channel length, channel width, reading width and far distance width of a PAL. Contour maps may also be referred to as unwanted astigmatic power maps. These maps can also be used to measure and portray optical power in various parts of the lens.

Conventional Channel Length: Due to aesthetic concerns or trends in eyewear fashion, it may be desirable to have a lens that is foreshortened vertically. In such a lens the channel is naturally also shorter Conventional channel length refers to the length of a channel in a non-foreshortened PAL lens. These channel lengths are usually, but not always, approximately 15 mm or longer. Generally, a longer channel length means a wider channel width and less unwanted astigmatism. Longer channel designs are often associated with “soft” progressives, since the transition between far distance correction and near distance correction is softer due to the more gradual increase in optical power.

Dynamic lens: A lens with an optical power which is alterable with the application of electrical energy, mechanical energy or force. Either the entire lens may have an alterable optical power, or only a portion, region or zone of the lens may have an alterable optical power. The optical power of such a lens is dynamic or tunable such that the optical power can be switched between two or more optical powers. The switching may comprise a discrete change from one optical power to another (such as going from an “off” or inactive state to an “on” or active state) or it may comprise continuous change from a first optical power to a second optical power, such as by varying the amount of electrical energy to a dynamic element. One of the optical powers may be that of substantially no optical power. Examples of dynamic lenses include electro-active lenses, meniscus lenses, fluid lenses, movable dynamic optics having one or more components, gas lenses, and membrane lenses having a member capable of being deformed. A dynamic lens may also be referred to as a dynamic optic, a dynamic optical element, a dynamic optical zone, dynamic power zone, or a dynamic optical region.

Far Distance Reference Point: A reference point located approximately 3-4 mm above the fitting cross where the far distance prescription or far, distance optical power of the lens can be measured easily.

Far Distance Viewing Zone: The portion of a lens containing an optical power which allows a user to see correctly at a far viewing distance.

Far Distance Width: The narrowest horizontal width within the far distance viewing portion of the lens which provides clear, mostly distortion-face correction with an optical power within 0.25D of the wearer's far distance viewing optical power correction.

Far Viewing Distance: The distance to which one looks, by way of example only, when viewing beyond the edge of one's desk, when driving a car, when looking at a distant mountain, or when watching a movie. This distance is usually, but not always, considered to be approximately 32 inches or greater from the eye the far viewing distance may also be referred to as a far distance and a far distance point.

Fitting Cross/Fitting Point: A reference point on a PAL that represents the approximate location of the wearer's pupil when looking straight ahead through the lens once the lens is mounted in an eyeglass frame and positioned on the wearer's face. The fitting cross/fitting point is usually, but not always, located 2-5 mm vertically above the start of the channel. The fitting cross typically has a very slight amount of plus optical power ranging from just over +0.00 Diopters to approximately +0.12 Diopters. This point or cross is marked on the lens surface such that it can provide an easy reference point for measuring and/or double-checking the fitting of the lens relative to the pupil of the wearer. The mark is easily removed upon the dispensing of the lens to the patient/wearer.

Hard Progressive Addition Lens: A Progressive Addition Lens with a less gradual, steeper transition between the far distance correction and the near distance correction. In a hard PAL the unwanted distortion may be below the fitting point and not spread out into the periphery of the lens. A hard PAL may also have a shorter channel length and a narrower channel width. A “modified hard Progressive Addition Lens” is a hard PAL which is modified to have a limited number of characteristics of a soft PAL such as a more gradual optical power transition, a longer, channel, a wider channel, more unwanted astigmatism spread out into the periphery of the lens, and less unwanted astigmatism below the fitting point.

Intermediate Distance Viewing Zone: The portion of a lens containing an optical power which allows a user to see correctly at an intermediate viewing distance.

Intermediate Viewing Distance: The distance to which one looks, by way of example only, when reading a newspaper, when working on a computer, when washing dishes in a sink, or when ironing clothing. This distance is usually, but not always, considered to be between approximately 16 inches and approximately 32 inches from the eye. The intermediate viewing distance may also be referred to as an intermediate distance and an intermediate distance point.

Lens: Any device or portion of a device that causes light to converge or diverge. The device may be static or dynamic. A lens may be refractive or diffractive. A lens may be either concave, convex or piano on one or both surfaces. A lens may be spherical, cylindrical, prismatic or a combination thereof. A lens may be made of optical glass, plastic or resin. A lens may also be referred to as an optical element, an optical zone, an optical region, an optical power region or an optic. It should be pointed out that within the optical industry a lens can be referred to as a lens even if it has zero optical power.

Lens Blank: A device made of optical material that may be shaped into a lens. A lens blank may be finished meaning that the lens blank has been shaped to have an optical power on both external surfaces. A lens blank may be semi-finished meaning that the lens blank has been shaped to have an optical power on only one external surface. A lens blank may be unfinished meaning that the lens blank has not been shaped to have an optical power on either external surface. A surface of an unfinished or semi-finished lens blank may be finished by means of a fabrication process known as free-forming or by more traditional surfacing and polishing.

Low Add Power PAL: A Progressive Addition Lens that has less than the necessary near add power for the wearer to see clearly at a near distance.

Multifocal Lens: A lens having more than one focal point or optical power. Such lenses may be static or dynamic. Examples of static multifocal lenses include a bifocal lens, trifocal lens or a Progressive Addition Lens. Examples of dynamic multifocal lenses include electro-active lenses whereby various optical powers may be created in the lens depending on the types of electrodes used, voltages applied to the electrodes and index of refraction altered within a thin layer of liquid crystal. Multifocal lenses may also be a combination of static and dynamic. For example, an electro-active element may be used in optical communication with a static spherical lens, static single vision lens, static multifocal lens such as, by way of example only, a Progressive Addition Lens. In most, but not all, cases, multifocal lenses are refractive lenses.

Near Distance Viewing Zone: The portion of a lens containing an optical power which allows a user to see correctly at a near viewing distance.

Near Viewing Distance: The distance to which one looks, by way of example only, when reading a book, when threading a needle, or when reading instructions on a pill bottle. This distance is usually, but not always, considered to be between approximately 12 inches and approximately 16 inches from the eye. The near viewing distance may also be referred to as a near distance and a near distance point.

Office Lens/Office PAL: A specially designed Progressive Addition Lens that provides intermediate distance vision above the fitting cross, a wider channel width and also a wider reading width. This is accomplished by means of an optical design which spreads the unwanted astigmatism above the fitting cross and which replaces the far distance vision zone with that of a mostly intermediate distance vision zone. Because of these features, this type of PAL is well-suited for desk work, but one cannot drive his or her cat or use it for walking around the office or home since the lens contains no far distance viewing area.

Ophthalmic Lens: A lens suitable for vision correction which includes a spectacle lens, a contact lens, an intra-ocular lens, a corneal in-lay, and a corneal on-lay.

Optical Communication: The condition whereby two or more optics of given optical power are aligned in a manner such that light passing through the aligned optics experiences a combined optical power equal to the sum of the optical powers of the individual elements.

Optical Power Stop: A lens component or surface that serves as a “stop” or boundary that will not allow a desired optical power to be exceeded or, in the case of a minimum optical power, the optical stop will prevent the optical power from going below that value. That is, in a dynamic lens, the optical power stop may define the maximum or minimum amount of positive (or negative) optical power. This may comprises a rigid lens component or a surface thereof. As used herein, the term “curvature template” refers to a curvature of a surface of a lens component to which a flexible element (e.g. a membrane) may conform to. Such curvature may define an optical power stop, and therefore provide the precise curvature needed for an optical power.

Patterned Electrodes: Electrodes utilized in an electro-active lens such that with the application of appropriate voltages to the electrodes, the optical power created by the liquid crystal is created diffractively regardless of the size, shape, and arrangement of the electrodes. For example, a diffractive optical effect can be dynamically produced within the liquid crystal by using concentric ring shaped electrodes.

Pixilated Electrodes: Electrodes utilized in an electro-active lens that are individually addressable regardless of the size, shape, and arrangement of the electrodes. Furthermore, because the electrodes are individually addressable, any arbitrary pattern of voltages may be applied to the electrodes. For example, pixilated electrodes may be squares or rectangles arranged in a Cartesian array or hexagons arranged in a hexagonal array. Pixilated electrodes need not be regular shapes that fit to a grid. For example, pixilated electrodes maybe concentric rings if every ring is individually addressable. Concentric pixilated electrodes can be individually addressed to create a diffractive optical effect.

Progressive Addition Region: A region of a lens having a first optical power in a first portion of the region and a second optical power in a second portion of the region wherein a continuous change in optical power exists there between. For example, a region of a lens may have a far viewing distance optical power at one end of the region. The optical power may continuously increase in plus power across the region, to an intermediate viewing distance optical power and then to a near viewing distance optical power at the opposite end of the region. After the optical power has reached a near-viewing distance optical power, the optical power, may decrease in such a way that the optical power of this progressive addition region transitions back into the far viewing distance optical power. A progressive addition region may be on a surface of a lens or embedded within a lens. When a progressive addition region is on the surface and comprises a surface topography it is known as a progressive addition surface.

Reading Width: The narrowest horizontal width within the near distance viewing portion of the lens which provides clear, mostly distortion free correction with an optical power within 0.25D of the wearer's near distance viewing optical power correction.

Short Channel Length: Due to aesthetic concerns or trends in eyewear fashion, it may be desirable to have a lens that is foreshortened vertically. In such a lens the channel is naturally also shorter. Short channel length refers to the length of a channel in a foreshortened PAL lens. These channel lengths are usually, but not always between approximately 11 mm and approximately 15 mm. Generally, a shorter channel length means a narrower channel width and more unwanted astigmatism. Shorter channel designs are often associated with “hard” progressives, since the transition between far distance correction and near distance correction is harder due to the steeper increase in optical power.

Soft Progressive Addition Lens: A Progressive Addition Lens with a more gradual transition between the far distance correction and the neat distance correction. In a soft PAL the unwanted distortion may be above the fitting point and spread out into the periphery of the lens. A soft PAL may also have a longer channel length and a wider channel width. A “modified soft Progressive Addition Lens” is a soft PAL which is modified to have a limited number of characteristics of a hard PAL such as a steeper optical power transition, a shorter channel, a narrower channel, more unwanted astigmatism pushed into the viewing portion of the lens, and more unwanted astigmatism below the fitting point.

Static Lens: A lens having an optical power which is not alterable with the application of electrical energy, mechanical energy or force. Examples of static lenses include spherical lenses, cylindrical lenses, Progressive Addition Lenses, bifocals, and trifocals. A static lens may also be referred to as a fixed lens. A lens may comprise a portion that is static, which may be referred to as a static power zone, segment, or region.

Unwanted Astigmatism: Unwanted aberrations, distortions or astigmatism found within a Progressive Addition Lens that are not part of the patient's prescribed vision correction, but rather are inherent in the optical design of a PAL due to the smooth gradient of optical power between the viewing zones. Although, a lens may have unwanted astigmatism across different areas of the lens of various dioptric powers, the unwanted astigmatism in the lens generally refers to the maximum unwanted astigmatism that is found in the lens. Unwanted astigmatism may also refer to the unwanted astigmatism located within a specific portion of a lens as opposed to the lens as a whole. In such a case qualifying language is used to indicate that only the unwanted astigmatism within the specific portion of the lens is being considered.

Also, as used herein, the term “sufficiently low,” when used with reference to a fluid, refers to an amount of fluid that, when located between a first surface of a lens component and a first region of the flexible element (e.g. a membrane), the amount of fluid does not materially affect the shape of the first region of the flexible element such that the first region of the flexible element may substantially conform to the first surface of the lens component. The fluid also does not appreciably affect the optical power of the apparatus. This term is meant to encompass the fact that it is practically nearly impossible to remove all of the fluid particles from any apparatus (or a gap/chamber thereof) and therefore it is likely that a minimal amount of fluid particles may still exist when in the area between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element (e.g. some residue may remain at least on the surfaces). However, when referred to as “sufficiently low,” the amount of fluid is insubstantial to the functionality of the apparatus.

In contrast, as used herein the term “sufficiently great” (or “sufficiently high”) refers to an amount of fluid that is enough to “cover” a lens surface and/or an optical feature thereof (i.e. the fluid is in optical communication with that part of the surface) such that, when the fluid is index matched to a lens component, the portion of the lens surface does not materially add (positive or negative) optical power to an optical dynamic region. Thus, there may be a small amount of fluid (or fluid residue) on a surface without “covering” that portion of the lens, as used herein.

Embodiments provide for a dynamic lens comprising a fluid that may solve/satisfy some or all of the significant unmet needs noted above. While embodiments disclosed herein utilize a fluid, it is the outer curvature of a first lens surface (which may be rigid and which may or may not include an optical feature) of a first lens component to which a first region of a flexible element (e.g. a membrane) conforms in curvature, and not that of an increased fluid volume, that may add positive (plus) optical power and/or optical power needed for near vision correction. In some embodiments, the first region of the flexible element comprises only a portion of the flexible element. In some embodiments, the flexible element may comprise the entire flexible element. In some embodiments, the first region may comprise multiple portions of the flexible element that may or may not be physically connected (e.g. a continuous region of the flexible element).

At least some embodiments of the dynamic lens as disclosed herein and variations thereof are cosmetically appealing, have superior functionality, are ergonomically more acceptable (e.g., the lenses are not too thick or heavy), and are less expensive to manufacture, than at least some electroactive lenses. In this regard, while electroactive lens may have good visual performance, with a small form factor, they can be a relatively expensive lens to fabricate when attempting to scale up manufacturing in large quantities. Accordingly, at least some embodiments o the dynamic lens as disclosed herein and variations thereof can be fabricated at a reasonable cost with a reasonable form factor, and provide a first quality vision correction for many, most and/or all prescription and non-prescription optical powers, at least when compared to some electroactive lenses.

In an embodiment, the dynamic lens as disclosed herein and variations thereof may be used to correct vision in a manner different from that of static multifocal lenses. Unlike static lenses (single vision or multifocal), at least some embodiments of the dynamic lens as disclosed herein and variations thereof will allow for closer to normal vision performance for the wearer than that of a static lenses. That is, because the human eye functions as a dynamic lens system, and not a static lens system, such dynamic lenses better approximate the functionality of the human eye.

In some embodiments, the front surface of the lens (e.g. surface 11 in FIG. 1, which is the surface of the first lens component that is further from the viewer) is the first surface that may serve as a curvature template that may dictate or otherwise influence the dynamic increase of positive (plus) optical power. In some embodiments when the flexible element 5 is located on the side of the lens closest to the eye, a back surface (e.g. surface 12 in FIG. 1, which is the surface of the first lens component that is closer to the viewer) is the first surface that may serve as a curvature template. In such embodiments, the front surface (e.g. surface 11 in FIG. 1) is the second surface, which may be the convex surface opposite the side of the lens comprising the flexible element.

As noted above, conventional fluid lenses provide for an increase in volume of fluid that presses on a membrane to cause an increase in positive (plus) optical power. Should this volume increase be too great or too little, the positive (plus) optical power can be something that is suboptimal for the near focus/near vision correction needs of the wearer. In contrast, at least some embodiments taught herein provide a curvature template such as to allow for a precise optical power stop that will not allow for a dynamic lens to provide incorrect optical power for near point focus or near point vision correction of the wearer. Thus, embodiments may provide that each time the near point optical power/near vision correction is required, the dynamic lens may provide the precise and proper optical power required for the wearer.

In some embodiments, the dynamic lens may also include a cover (e.g. a third lens component such as 320 in FIG. 16). The cover or cover lens may also serve as a curvature template providing an optical power stop for ensuring that a distance optical power is precisely achieved. In some embodiments, a cover may serve as the distance curvature template and the first surface of a lens component (e.g. surface 11 in FIG. 1), which may or may not include an optical feature, may serve as the near vision curvature template (and may or may not also include an intermediate curvature template) by providing an optical power stop for near vision optical power. The first surface may also provide an intermediate vision optical power. Therefore, in some embodiments, the distance vision optical power, intermediate optical power (when desired), and the near vision optical power may be repeatedly and precisely achieved upon focusing on a distance vision object and switching focus to that of an intermediate distance object and then to a near vision object, or any combination thereof. This is due, in part, because embodiments do not rely on changing the shape of a membrane using the precise amount of fluid each time, because the first surface of the first lens component and/or third lens component serve as optical power stops for the desired corrections. It should be noted, however, that embodiments of the dynamic lens herein also may provide for tuning the optical power of a dynamic optical region away from an optical power stop, or tuning between optical power stops.

An optical device and/or apparatus that comprises a dynamic optical lens is therefore provided. A first optical apparatus includes a first lens component having a first surface and a second surface. The first lens component may be rigid; that is, it may be made of a material such that the curvature and shape of its surfaces do not change. Any material may be used that has these features, including glass, plastic, and/or any other transparent rigid materials. The first surface and/or the second surface may be finished, such as free formed or digitally surfaced.

The first apparatus further includes a second lens component that comprises a flexible element. The flexible element may comprise a membrane. In some embodiments, the second lens component may comprise both a flexible component and a rigid component. The flexible element may comprise any material, including biaxially oriented polyethelene terephthalate (available under the trade name Mylar) or urethane. However, any suitable material may be used such that a first region of the second lens component may conform to the first surface of the first lens component and/or may be nonconforming to that surface, as in the case when the flexible element bubbles from the first surface, as detailed below. In some embodiments, in the first optical apparatus as described above, the second lens component (and/or the first region) may also be stretchable. This may permit the second element (and/or the region) to retain some structure, while still conforming to the first surface of the first lens component and/or bubbling from the first surface. The ability to conform to the first surface may result in the optical features thereon defining an optical power of the lens when the fluid is sufficiently low in that region. That is, because the first region of the flexible element does not maintain its own curvature, and conforms to the curvature of the first surface, the curvature of the first surface may thereby define the optical power of the lens.

In some embodiments, the flexible element of the second lens component or a region thereof is translucent. In some embodiments, the flexible element or a region thereof is transparent. A transparent flexible element may be preferred for applications where the user will be utilizing the lens in daily use, such as in a spectacles, because the lens will allow the user to view objects without much obstruction from this lens component. Preferably, the second lens element or a region thereof transmits at least 85% of light waves that are incident to a surface. More preferably, the second lens element or a region thereof transmits at least 90% of light waves that are incident to a surface. It is desirable that the flexible element does not unnecessarily inhibit the propagation of light waves so that the dynamic lens, or a region thereof, may be used in high light, as well as low light environments.

The first lens component and the second lens component are located such that a gap or chamber may be created between at least a portion of the two components. In some embodiments, a portion of the flexible element may be permanently adhered to the first surface of the first lens component. This may create a seal around a dynamic optical region in which the optical power may be varied. In some embodiments, the second lens component may be adhered to a fixed portion of the first apparatus. However, this may not be preferred because it may inhibit the ability to shape the lens into frames of different styles.

The first apparatus also includes a fluid that may be applied between at least a portion of the first lens component and at least a portion of the second lens component (e.g. in the gap described above). The fluid may be of any composition, and may also include other forms of matter such as a gas and/or gel. The fluid may have any index of refraction, however, in some embodiments, it is preferred that the fluid is index matched with first lens component. The term “index matched,” as used herein, means that the indexes of refraction are substantially similar. For example, the indexes of refraction may be with 0.05 units of each other.

In the first apparatus, as noted above the flexible element of the second lens component may comprise a first region that conforms to the first surface of the first lens component when an amount of fluid between the first surface of the first lens component and the first region of the second lens component is sufficiently low, where the term “sufficiently low” was defined above. That is, when the fluid that is located in the gap between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element is removed (or substantially removed), the first region of the flexible element may come into contact with and/or conform to the first surface of the first lens component. In this way, the first region of the flexible element takes the form of the first surface and any optical feature thereon. If the indexes of refraction of the flexible element and the lens component are substantially the same, than the optical region may have an optical power that is defined by the first surface of the first lens component. In this manner, embodiments provide the ability to consistently and reliably return to the optical power defined by the first surface.

In the first apparatus, the first region of the flexible element of the second lens component also does not conform to the first surface of the first lens component when an amount of fluid between the first surface of the first lens component and the first region of the second lens component is sufficiently great in certain areas of the apparatus. That is, when the fluid is applied or located in the gap or chamber between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element, the first region of the flexible element may be displaced by the fluid (or otherwise moved away from the first surface) such that it no longer is in contact with and/or conforms to the first surface. This may therefore provide the dynamic lens with the ability to change the optical power of a particular region. In embodiments where the fluid is indexed matched to the first lens component, an optical feature or the curvature of the first lens surface may no longer contribute to the optical power in any region where the fluid is sufficiently great.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus described above, the flexible element further comprises a second region. The first region of the flexible element of the second lens component may conform to the first surface of the first lens component when the fluid between the first region of the flexible element and the first surface is sufficiently low, while at the same time the second region of the flexible element does not conform to the first surface of the first lens component while the fluid between the second region and the first surface is sufficiently great. That is, the apparatus and the first surface may be such that as the fluid is removed or displaced from between the first and second lens components, different portions of the first surface may no longer be covered by the fluid and thereby a region or regions of the flexible element may adhere and/or conform to those surfaces. At the same time there may be other regions of the flexible element and portions of the first surface where the fluid remains sufficiently great such that these regions of the flexible element do not conform to those portions of the optical surface. This may provide embodiments of the dynamic lens with different optical powers in different regions, and may provide the ability for the user to select which power to be applied at any one time (or simultaneously). An example of such an embodiment is shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, which will be described in detail below.

In some embodiments, the first apparatus includes a reservoir that may contain the fluid that is not located between the first and the second lens components. The reservoir may comprise any material and may be located within other components of the first apparatus. For instance, for embodiments whereby the first apparatus comprises spectacles, the reservoir may be located in the frames, in the nose bridge, etc. The reservoir may be located in any suitable location, so long as the fluid may enter and be released from the reservoir. Moreover, the apparatus may comprise multiple reservoirs.

In some embodiments, the fluid may be applied between the first and second lens components by an actuator. The actuator may comprise any type of device for applying and/or displacing or removing fluid including, for instance, a syringe, plunger, pump that is mechanically (e.g., spring loaded), manually operated, electrically, or electro-mechanically moved or adjusted to move the placement of the fluid. The actuator may be located in any suitable location and is typically in communication with both a reservoir and the gap between the first and second lens component (and/or a channel to either).

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus described above the first surface further comprises a first optical feature. An optical feature may be anything that alters the optical power of the dynamic lens, including by way of example, any one of, or some combination of, the following: a progressive optical power region; a bifocal; a trifocal; a multi-focal region; an aspherical optical feature; an aspheric region; a rotationally symmetric optical feature; and a non-rotationally symmetric optical feature. By including the optical feature on the first surface of the first lens component, it permits embodiments of the dynamic lens to have a predetermined optical stop having an optical power in that region that can be readily returned to and applied. Moreover, the first surface may have multiple optical features located on different regions. Preferably, in some embodiments a first region of the flexible element of the first apparatus conforms to the first optical feature when an amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently low. In such embodiments, the first surface thereby serves as the optical power stop when the fluid is sufficiently removed from between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible membrane.

Moreover, in some embodiments, the first region of the flexible element of the first apparatus does not conform to the first optical feature when an amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently great. This may be preferred for the same reasons described above, in that this provides the dynamic properties that allow the optical feature to no longer define or contribute to the optical power of a region when the fluid is added and is sufficiently great. Thus, in embodiments, the lens provides multiple optical powers for the same region of the lens depending on the fluid between the flexible element and the first lens component.

In some embodiments, the first apparatus as described above further includes a first dynamic optical power region. The dynamic optical power region refers to a portion of the lens that has an optical power that may be varied. For instance, in some embodiments, the dynamic optical power regions coincides with an optical feature on the first surface of the first lens component. As the amount of fluid that covers the first lens surface that is in optical communication with the dynamic optical region is varied, the optical power of the dynamic optical power region may also be varied. In some embodiments, when the fluid between the first region of the flexible element and the first lens component is sufficiently low, the dynamic optical power region may be defined by the first surface of the first lens component.

In some embodiments where the first surface of the first lens component includes an optical feature and the first apparatus includes a first dynamic optical power region, the fluid may have an index of refraction that is substantially similar to the index of refraction of the first lens component. In such embodiments, it is preferable that the index of refraction of the fluid is such that the first optical feature does not contribute to the first dynamic optical power region when an amount of the fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently great. This may enable the optical features on the first surface of the lens component to contribute or define the optical power when the fluid is sufficiently low between the first surface and the first region of the flexible element, while the same feature does not contribute to the optical properties of the same region when the fluid is increased to a sufficiently great level. This may be due, in part, to the fact that the fluid and the first lens component have substantially the same index of refraction, and thereby any optical features may essentially be masked or hidden by the additional fluid in that region.

In some embodiments, the first surface of the first lens component of the first apparatus as described above defines a first optical power stop, which may be for a near vision optical power. That is, the first surface can be such that it provides correction for a viewer corresponding to objects that are close to (i.e. a short distance away from) the viewer. Further, in some embodiments the first surface may be an optical power stop, in that when the fluid between the first region of the flexible membrane and the first surface of the first lens component is sufficiently low, the first surface may define or contribute to the optical power of the lens and also no additional positive power may be added to that region. In some embodiments where the first lens component comprises a first optical feature, the first dynamic optical power region is defined by the first optical feature when the fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently low. That is, the optical power stop for that region of the apparatus may be defined by the optical feature on the first surface of the first lens component.

In some embodiments, where the first apparatus described above includes a first dynamic optical power region, the first dynamic optical power region may be tunable. The tern “tunable” as used herein means that the optical power may be varied (perhaps continuously) from one value to another. In some embodiments, when an amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is sufficiently low; the dynamic optical power region is defined by the first optical power stop. As the amount of fluid between the first optical feature and the first region of the flexible element is increased, the dynamic optical power region tunes away from the first optical power stop. This may be because the shape of the first region of the flexible element may continue to change and conform to different aspects of an optical feature of the first surface. This may thereby change the optical power of the region of the lens in a continuous way from a first optical power to the optical power stop defined by the first surface when the amount of fluid is sufficiently low.

In some embodiments, where the first apparatus described above includes a first dynamic optical power region, a decrease in the volume of fluid between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element of the second lens component may increase a positive optical power of the dynamic optical power region. This may again be caused, in part, by the shape of the first surface that comprises an optical feature or curvature that adds positive optical power, and therefore the reduction of fluid (which may be index matching to the first lens component) exposes these features, which may then contribute (i.e. add positive optical power) to the optical power of the region. In some embodiments, a decrease in the volume of fluid between the first lens component and the first region of the flexible element of the second lens component decreases a positive optical power of the dynamic optical power region. For the same reason, the first surface of the first lens component may provide a negative optical power, which contributes to the optical power of a region of the lens when the index matching fluid is removed or displaced.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus as described above, the shape of the second lens component is adjustable based on the amount of fluid between the first lens component and the second lens component. As noted above, the second lens component may comprise a flexible element, which may be a membrane. The flexible element may change shape based on the amount of fluid and/or the pressure applied to the flexible element. Moreover, as described above, the first region of the flexible element may conform to at least a portion of the first surface of the first lens component.

In some embodiments, in the first apparatus as described above, the first lens component has a first index of refraction, the second lens component has a second index of refraction, and the fluid has a third index of refraction. In some embodiments, the first index of refraction is substantially the same as the second index of refraction. That is, the first lens component and the fluid may be indexed matched such that light that propagates between the two components is not substantially refracted. This may permit the optical features of the first surface to be masked or hidden (i.e. they do not contribute to the optical power) when there is a sufficiently great amount of fluid covering the surface. In some embodiments, the first index of refraction is substantially the same as the third index of refraction. That is, the first lens component and the second lens component (and/or the flexible component of the second lens component) may be indexed matched. This may prevent any light entering the lens from being refracted at the interface between the flexible element and the first lens surface, which may thereby affect the optical power of that region of the apparatus. In some embodiments, the first, the second, and the third index of refraction are substantially the same. This may be preferred so that an optical feature on the first surface may correspond to a correction optical power needed by a wearer, and there will not be any additional optical power caused by the interface of any of these components that would have to be accounted for in the design of the apparatus. This may result in an apparatus that may be more easily designed to provide no optical power in some embodiments (e.g. when the first surface or a portion thereof is covered by the fluid), which may desirable is a viewer does not need correction of object at certain distances, because there is no need to correct for the refraction at the interfaces of the components.

In some embodiments, the first apparatus as described above includes a third lens component having a first surface and a second surface. The third lens component can be a cover lens, which may serve to protect the flexible membrane. Preferably, the first lens component and the third lens component are positioned such that a gap exists between the first surface of the first lens component and a first surface of the third lens component. In some embodiments, the second lens component may be located substantially within this gap between the first and third lens components. Preferably, at least a portion of the second lens component conforms to at least a portion of the first surface of the third lens component when an amount of fluid substantially fills the gap between at least a portion of the first lens component and at least a potion of the third lens component. That is, the third lens component defines the maximum position that the flexible element may expand to when fluid is applied between the first lens component and the flexible element. In some embodiments, the first surface of the third lens component defines a second optical power stop. In some embodiments, the second optical stop power stop is for a distance vision optical power. That is, the third lens component may have an optical feature such that, when a region of the flexible element conforms to the surface, a dynamic optical region provides the needed optical power for correction of a wearer's distance vision. This provides the advantage that a dynamic lens may correct both near vision and distance vision. Moreover, by providing an optical power stop for each (defined by a fixed or rigid lens component), the apparatus provides a reliable way to consistently and precisely return to the desired optical power.

Exemplary Embodiment

An exemplary embodiment will be described with reference to FIG. 1, which illustrates a side view of a lens 100. This is meant for descriptive purposes only, and is thereby not limiting. As used herein, “lens 100” is a short name for an optical apparatus that includes a lens component and other components, as will now be detailed.

The lens 100 can comprise a first lens component 10 and a second lens component 5. The second lens component 5 can be positioned closer to an object being observed or viewed with the lens 100 (such that, for example, the first lens component 10 is positioned closer to a user of the lens 100). A fluid (or liquid or gel, etc.) 20 can be positioned between the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. The first lens component 10 can be a solid lens comprising a material having a homogeneous index of refraction. In some embodiments, the fluid 20 can have an index of refraction that is approximately equal or substantially the same to the index of refraction of the first lens component 10.

The first lens component 10 can comprise a first surface 11 (the surface of the first lens component 10 that is adjacent to the fluid 20) and a second surface 12 (the surface of the first lens component 10 that is not adjacent to the fluid 20). The first 11 and second 12 surfaces of the first lens component 10 can each have any shape or curvature (including concave, convex, and/or a flat curvature (e.g. radius that is approximately equal to infinity)). Further, any optical feature—for example, a progressive optical power region, a bifocal, trifocal or other multifocal region, an aspheric optical feature, an aspheric region, a rotationally symmetric optical feature (including rotationally symmetric aspheric regions), a non-rotationally symmetric optical feature (including non-rotationally symmetric aspheric regions), or any combination thereof—can be positioned on any portion of either the first surface 11 or the second surface 12 of the first lens component 10.

The second lens component 5 can comprise a flexible element such as a flexible membrane. The second lens component 5 can also be stretchable. Accordingly, the shape of the second lens component 5 can be dynamically adjusted based on the volume of fluid 20 positioned between the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. Specifically, as the amount or volume of fluid 20 is decreased, the second lens element 5 (or a portion thereof) can be drawn toward the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. Eventually, a region of the second lens component 5 can come into contact with and/or conform to the shape of the first lens component 10. Correspondingly, as the amount or volume of fluid is increased, the second lens component 5 can be moved away from the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. The flexible element (or regions thereof) of the second lens component 5 can be a material such as, but not limited to, biaxially oriented polyethelene terephthalate (available under the trade name Mylar) or urethane, and may in some embodiments be translucent or transparent.

As the shape of the second lens component 5 is dynamically adjusted, the optical power in one or more regions of the lens 100 can be varied or adjusted. When the fluid 20 (in this embodiment, the fluid is index matched to the first component) separates the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5, any optical feature on a portion of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 covered by the fluid 20 will not contribute to the optical power provided by the lens 100. As noted above, this is because the fluid 20 has an index of refraction that approximately matches the index of refraction of the first lens component 10. When the amount of fluid 20 that separates the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5 is substantially low, then the second lens component 5 (or a region thereof) can conform to the shape of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. In turn, any optical feature on a portion of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 can contribute to a dynamic optical power provided in various portions of the lens 100. More specifically, any optical feature on the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 that can be covered and not covered by the fluid 20, can contribute to a dynamic optical power provided by lens 100. As noted above, such a region can be considered to be a dynamic optical power region of lens 100. A dynamic optical power region of the lens 100 can be of any shape or size and can contribute any desired optical power when no longer covered by the fluid 20. Further, a dynamic optical power region of the lens 100 can be placed into optical communication with one or more additional optical features of the lens 100 (e.g., an optical feature positioned on the second surface 12 of the first lens component 10). In this way, a dynamic optical power region of the lens 100 can contribute a portion of a total desired optical power for a region of the lens 100 (e.g., a first portion of a total add power of the lens 100).

The fluid 20 can be moved by any suitable method and mechanisms. As an example, movement of the first lens component 10 can displace the fluid 20. If the first lens component 10 is moved towards the second lens component 5, the fluid 20 can be forced out of the region separating the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. If the first lens component 10 is moved away from the second lens component 5, the fluid 20 can be allowed or forced to enter the region separating the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. In some embodiments, an actuator can pump the fluid into and out of a region between the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. Such an actuator may for example, in embodiments comprising spectacles, be positioned within a temple of a lens frame housing the lens 100. However, the actuator may be located in any suitable location.

The fluid 20 can be evacuated (i.e. removed or displaced) to a chamber or reservoir, which may be positioned in a variety of places with respect to the lens 100. As an example, and as shown in FIG. 1, the fluid 20 can be evacuated to one or more reservoirs 25. As an additional example, the fluid can be pumped into a reservoir positioned within a temple of a lens frame housing the lens 100.

As noted above, the exemplary lens 100 depicted in FIG. 1 is illustrative only, and is not meant to be limiting. As shown in FIG. 1, the fluid 20 is depicted as separating the entire first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 from the entire second lens component 5 comprising a flexible element (i.e., as depicted, the fluid can cover approximately the entire first surface 11 of the first lens component 10), but embodiments are not so limited. That is, in some embodiments the fluid 20 of a dynamic lens 100 can be positioned between only select portions of the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. For portions of the lens 100 where the amount of fluid 20 that separates the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5 is permitted to be substantially low, the region of the flexible element 5 can approximately conform to that portion of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. Further, in some embodiments, portions of the flexible element 5 can be adhesively attached to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. Additionally, some embodiments can comprise a flexible element 5 and a lens component 10 that are in alternate positions to that illustrated in FIG. 1. That is, the flexible element 5 is positioned closer to a user of the lens 100 and the first lens component 10 is positioned further form the user. In such embodiments, optical features positioned on the second surface 12 of the lens component 10 would be exposed or covered based on the presence or absence of fluid 20 separating regions of the flexible membrane 5 from the lens component 10.

Embodiments provide a dynamic lens that can dynamically adjust the overall optical power provided by one or more optical regions of the dynamic lens by exposing or covering optical features of a surface of a lens component with an approximately index matched fluid. Embodiments may be used to form any variable optical power lens; with the optical power of the lens capable of being varied spatially and/or temporally.

The figures will now be described in more detail. The figures are provided as examples of embodiments and/or operation of a dynamic lens. The figures, and the descriptions herein, are for illustration purposes and are not intended to be limiting.

FIGS. 1-3 show the operation of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens. Exemplary lens 100 is shown in FIG. 1 as having a sufficiently great amount of fluid 20 between the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 such that the flexible element 5 does not conform to the first surface 11. In FIG. 2, lens 100 is shown as having only a portion of the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11 having a sufficiently great amount of fluid between them. In FIG. 3, lens 100 is shown as having a sufficiently low amount of fluid 20 between most of the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11 of the first lens element 10. Each of these exemplary embodiments will be described in more detail as follows.

With reference to FIG. 1, a cross-section of an exemplary embodiment of a dynamic lens is shown. The lens 100 is depicted in an approximately “first” or “beginning” state. In this embodiment, the fluid 20 separates the entire first surface 11 of a first lens component 10 from a second lens component comprising a flexible element 5 (e.g. a flexible membrane). However, as described above, in some embodiments the fluid may separate only a portion of the first lens component 10 and the flexible element 5 of the second lens component. In this exemplary embodiment, the fluid 20 and the flexible element 5 may have an index of refraction that substantially match that of the first lens component 10. As noted above, “substantially match” means that there is not an appreciable difference in the indexes of refraction of the two components, for instance, the indexes of refractions are within 0.05 units. Although this exemplary embodiment will be described with reference to the situation where the indexes are substantially the same, it should be understood that in some embodiments, the index of refraction of one or more of these components may be different from the others, which will be discussed in detail below.

In this first state as depicted in FIG. 1 (and continuing with the embodiment where the index of refraction of the fluid and the first lens components are substantially the same), the optical features of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 may not contribute to the optical power provided by the lens 100. This is because the amount of the fluid 20 that is between the first surface 11 (and any optical feature thereon) and the flexible membrane 5 is sufficiently great so as to cover the features. As depicted in FIG. 1, the lens 100 is illustrated to be a single vision lens (e.g., piano) in the first state. That is, the curvature of the flexible element 5 is approximately the same as the curvature of surface 12, such that the lens 100 does not have an optical power. Thus, light rays 101, which are parallel at the point of incidence with the lens, emerge from the lens substantially parallel. However, it should be understood that in other embodiments the lens 100 (or regions thereof) may have different optical powers and/or optical properties in this first state. For example, the second surface 12 (e.g. the back surface) of the first lens component 10 could comprise any optical feature (e.g. a multifocal region such as a progressive optical power region) such that the lens 100 provides one or more optical powers in the first state. As depicted, this first state in FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment where the surface 11 does not contribute to the optical power.

With reference to FIG. 2, the exemplary lens 100 is depicted to be in a “second” or “transitional” state. Specifically, a portion of the fluid 20 has been removed or displaced from the gap between the first lens component 10 and the second lens component 5. As depicted, a first region 201 of the flexible element 5 of the second lens component begins to change shape as the fluid 20 is removed or displaced. As the first region 201 of the flexible element 5 comes into contact with and/or conforms to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10, it conforms to its shape or curvature.

In this embodiment, the optical power provided by the lens 100 in a particular region can be adjusted or changed based on the shape of the corresponding portion of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 as the fluid 20 is removed or displaced. This is depicted in FIG. 2 by the refraction of the light rays 202 that are incident to the lens 100 in the region where the first region of the flexible element 5 has conformed to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. In contrast, light rays 203 are not shown as being refracted by the lens 100 as, in this exemplary embodiment, the curvature of the second region of the flexible element 5 continues to match the curvature of the surface 12 (that is, the lens in this portion continues to be plano). It should be understood that as fluid is displace or removed, the optical power of this portion of the lens 100 can also vary (that is, it may continually and/or gradually change) until the optical power for this region of the lens is equal to the optical power provided by the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10.

In some embodiments, the fluid 20 can be displaced by using movable slide 15 and fixed portion 40. That is, the fluid 20 may be removed by moving the slide 15 of the apparatus away from a fixed portion 40 to permit fluid to be applied to or removed from the gap between the first lens component 10 and second lens component. Any fluid that is not in the gap between the first 10 and second lens component 5 may be stored or retained in a reservoir 25 or other suitable area of the lens 100 and/or apparatus. However, as would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, any means may be used to remove, displace, and/or apply the fluid to the gap, including using an actuator, a pump, a valve system, etc.

Although not depicted in FIG. 2, it should be understood that as the fluid 20 is applied (e.g. added) or removed (or otherwise displaced) from the gap between the first lens component and the second lens component 5 (or portions thereof), and the flexible element 5 begins to change shape (while not necessarily conforming to the surface) the optical power of that region may also begin to change. This may result in a tunable optical power for the region of the lens, with an optical stop that results when the fluid between the first surface 11 and a region of the flexible element 5 is sufficiently low that the optical power of that region of the lens is defined by the first surface 11 and any optical feature thereon.

With reference to FIG. 3, the exemplary lens 100 is depicted in an approximately “final” or “second” state. Although described as a “second” state, as noted above, there are potentially an infinite number of states of the exemplary lens 100 because the optical power of the lens 100 (or a region thereof) may continue to change as fluid 20 is removed from (or applied to) the gap between the first lens component 10 and flexible element 5. As noted above, this processes may be referred to as “tuning,” in that the optical power may be gradually or systematically changed to a power that approaches an optical power stop, or moves further away from an optical power stop.

Continuing with FIG. 3, as depicted the fluid 20 has been approximately displaced or removed from between the first lens component 10 and the flexible element 5 of the second lens component. Additional regions of the flexible element 5 of the second lens component have changed shape as they came into contact with and/or conformed to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. As shown in FIG. 3, an optical power provided by the lens 100 has been adjusted by having the flexible membrane 5 conform to the shape of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. Thus, light rays 301 are now refracted and focused based on the optical power of lens 100 and, in particular, as defined by the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10.

As shown in FIG. 3, the lens 100 is depicted as being a single vision lens (e.g., providing positive optical power), but embodiments are not so limited. That is, a portion of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 can comprise a multifocal region—for example, a progressive optical power region—such that the lens 100 in the “second state” provides multiple optical powers or vision zones. For instance, the first surface 11 may comprise any desired optical feature (or multiple optical features). As noted above, second surface 12 may also have an optical feature or optical features, which contribute to the overall optical power for lens 100 (or a region thereof).

With reference to FIG. 4, the exemplary lens 100 is shown in a front view. As depicted, the lens 100 in FIG. 4 corresponds to the lens in the “first” or “initial” state as was described with reference to FIG. 1. That is, the lens 100 is depicted in a state whereby the amount of fluid 20 in the gap between the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 and the flexible element 5 is sufficiently great such that the first surface (or a portion thereof) does not contribute to an optical power region of the exemplary lens 100 when the fluid is index matched. Also depicted in FIG. 4 are a fluid reservoirs 25 and a solid component 40 located around the periphery of the lens components.

With reference to FIG. 5, the exemplary lens 100 is shown in a front view. As, depicted, the lens 100 in FIG. 5 corresponds to the lens in the “transitional” state as was described with reference to FIG. 2. In this embodiment, a region or zone 30 is shown that is distinguished from an outer periphery 35 of the lens 100. The region 30 may correspond to the first region of the flexible element 5 that has come into contact with and/or has conformed to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. That is, the amount of fluid 20 between the first region of the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11 is sufficiently low in region 30 such that the first surface 11 contributes to and/or defines the optical power of lens 100 in that optical region. As such, the region 30 can provide an optical power that varies from the optical power provided by the area 35 of the lens surrounding the region 30. The region 30 can be considered to be a portion of a dynamic (or adjustable) optical power region of the lens 100 because as the amount of fluid between the first surface 11 and the flexible element 5 is varied, the optical power of that region may be tuned toward, or away from, the optical power stop defined by the first surface 11.

With reference to FIG. 6, the exemplary lens 100 is shown in a front view. As depicted, the exemplary lens 100 in FIG. 6 corresponds to the lens in the “second” or “final” state as was described with reference to FIG. 3. The region 30 is enlarged compared to the region 30 depicted in FIG. 5 because, as was described with reference to FIG. 3, this illustrates a stage in which substantially all of the fluid has been removed or displaced from between the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11. The region 30 may again correspond to the first region of the flexible element 5 that has come into contact with and/or has conformed to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. That is, the amount of fluid 20 between the first region of the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11 is sufficiently low in region 30 such that the first surface 11 contributes to and/or defines the optical power of lens 100 in that region. Thus, as depicted in FIG. 6, a greater portion of the first surface 11 of lens 100 is contributing to a dynamic optical power region than in FIG. 5.

In general, the region 30 can be of any size or shape and can provide a constant optical power or a variable optical power (having either a symmetric or non-symmetric and either a continuous or discontinuous optical power profile). The region 30 can be positioned to be centered or located in any region of the lens 100. Further, the lens can include more than one adjustable optical power region 30, which may be physically separated and/or comprise multiple flexible elements. Moreover, the region 30 can comprise any type of optical feature, including, but not limited to: a progressive optical power region, a bifocal, a trifocal, a multi-focal region, an aspherical optical feature, an aspheric region, a rotationally symmetric, optical feature; and/or a non-rotationally symmetric optical feature.

One skilled in the pertinent art will appreciate and understand that, in general, embodiments of a dynamic lens as provided herein may provide a first or initial optical power profile for a region in a “first” or “initial” state, can provide transitional optical power profiles in “transitional” states (e.g. can be tuned from a first state to intermediate states, whereby the amount of fluid 20 between portions of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 and the first region of the flexible element 5 are varied), and can provide a second optical power profile for a region in a “second” or “final” state based on the exposure (e.g. when a sufficiently low amount of fluid 20 is between the first surface 11 and the first region of the flexible element 5) of optical features on the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. The “first”, the “transitional”, and the “second” optical power profiles can be any desired optical power profiles. One or more surfaces or optical features can contribute to the optical power profiles provided by the lens 100 (e.g., two or more surfaces can provide a total add power of the lens 100 by being in optical communication with one another). Further, one skilled in the pertinent art will appreciate the different methods and mechanism that can be used to displace and store the fluid used in the dynamic lens of the present invention, which may include, for example, an actuator and/or reservoir.

In some embodiments, the first optical power profile and/or an optical region described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 4 can be determined, in part, by the second surface 12 of the first lens component 10 and the flexible membrane 5. As described above, the first optical power profile can be provided by the lens 100 when the fluid 20 covers one or more optical features of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. That is, the first optical profile may comprise an embodiment in which there is a sufficiently great amount of fluid 20 between the first surface 11 and the flexible element 5.

In some embodiments, the “second” optical power profiles as described with reference to FIGS. 3 and 6 can be determined, in part, by the second surface 12 of the first lens component 10 and the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. The second optical power profile can be provided by the lens 100 when the one or more previously covered optical features of the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10 are exposed as described above. That is, the second optical profile may comprise the situation in which there is a sufficiently low amount of fluid 20 between at least a portion of the first surface 11 and the flexible element 5, such that a first region of the flexible element 5 conforms to the first surface 11. Furthermore, in some embodiments, there may be intermediate (“transitional”) optical profiles between the first and second optical profiles (described with reference to FIGS. 2 and 5) that may be defined, in-part, by the different amounts of fluid 20 between the first surface 11 and the flexible element 5, which results in a different shape of the flexible element 5 and/or different portions of the first surface 11 (and optical features thereon) contributing to the dynamic optical power regions of the lens 100.

The embodiments described above may provide several advantages. For example, the first surface 11 of some of these embodiments may define a fixed optical power stop for one or more optical regions of the lens 100, which may be accurately and repeatedly returned to by a user. This is due, in part, because the optical power stop of an optical region of the lens 100 is not defined by adding a specific amount of fluid, but may be defined, similar to current fixed (i.e. non-dynamic) lenses using an optical surface 11 that does not change. Embodiments may thereby allow for a user to quickly set the lens to the desired optical power by, for example, removing or displacing all (or substantially all) of the fluid from between the first surface 11 (or a part thereof) and a first region of the flexible element 5. Thus, if a user has a specific prescription, embodiments may readily enable a user to set the lens 100 to provide the needed optical correction. Embodiments may also provide the further benefit that this fixed optical feature does not always contribute to the optical power of a region of the lens. This may, for example, permit the same optical region in one instance to allow a viewer to see distant objects, and in another instance, the same optical region may correct for nearsightedness. Any type of correction may be provided.

As noted above, the flexible element 5 may comprise a flexible membrane. The flexible element 5 may be adhered or attached to the lens 100 in any location. For instance, portions of the flexible element 5 may be adhered to any one of, or some combination of: portions of the first surface 11, the first optical component 10, a fixed portion of the lens 40, an eye glass frame, or any another appropriate location on lens 100. In some embodiments, the second lens component may have fixed components as well as a flexible element (such as a membrane). In some embodiments, the flexible element 5 may be coated with a hard coat/anti-scratch coating, an anti-reflection coating, and/or an anti-soiling coating. In some embodiments, an apparatus comprising a dynamic lens may not have any additional optical components adjacent to the surface of the flexible element 5 that does not conform to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. In some embodiments, the dynamic lens may have additional optical components adjacent to the surface of the flexible element 5 that does not conform to the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10, such as another lens, a dynamic lens, a cover lens, or any other transparent or semi-transparent component.

In some embodiments (and as described above), the fluid 20 may be index matched to some or all of other optical components of the lens 100. That is, the indexes of refraction may be substantially the same. For instance, the fluid 20 can have an index of refraction that is matched to within approximately 0.05 units of the refractive index of the first lens component 10. The flexible element 5 can also be index matched the fluid 20 and the first lens component 10.

In some embodiments, the fluid 20 is not index matched to the first lens component 10. In such embodiments, the lens 100 may still function in the same manner as described above, however, each of the states of the dynamic lens that were described with reference to FIGS. 1-6 may have an optical power, even in regions whereby the first surface 11 is substantially covered by the fluid 20. For instance, in the “first” state when the fluid between the first surface 11 and a first region of the flexible element 5 is substantially great, rather than light rays entering parallel and emerging from the lens 100 parallel, the light rays may be focused based on an optical power of the lens 100 provided, in part, by the difference in index of refraction. However, the first surface 11 may still define an optical power stop, which may be tuned to, or away form, based on the amount of fluid 20 between the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11.

Additional embodiments of exemplary dynamic lenses that may comprise various features will be described below in relation to FIGS. 7-20.

With reference to FIG. 7, an embodiment of a dynamic lens 200 is shown. As used herein, “lens 200” is a short name for an optical apparatus that includes at least a lens component and other components, as will now be detailed. The lens 200 shown in FIG. 7 can be a lens blank (e.g., an unfinished lens blank or a semi-finished lens blank). The lens shown in FIG. 7 can be edged and finished to fit into a spectacle frame (e.g., as shown in FIG. 11, which will be described further below). Continuing with the description of FIG. 7, the flexible element of the lens 200 is adhered over the entire lens except the circular region 701 shown by the dashed line. In this embodiment, the dynamic or adjustable power region is the area 701 within the dashed line. Accordingly, the area 701 is the region of the lens 200 having an optical power that may dynamically change as the fluid of the lens 200 is extracted or displaced from this region. The region 701 can be positioned below a fitting point 702 of the lens, but is not so limited (that is, it may be position anywhere on the lens 200). The region 701 can be centered about the geometric center 703 of the lens, but again is not so limited. Further, a dynamic lens 200 of the present invention can have a fitting point 702 that coincides with the geometric center 703 of the lens, but is not so limited.

Continuing with the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 7, a bond line 704 shows the separation between the region of the flexible element that is adhered to the lens 200 (e.g. the first region) and the region 701 of the flexible element that is not adhered to the lens 200. A trench or moat 705 can surround all or a portion of the unattached flexible element portion. In some embodiments, a trench or moat 705 can be located on the first surface of the first lens component. The trench or moat 705 can be used to route or direct the movement of the fluid in lens 200. In some embodiments, the trench or moat 705 may be of a width and depth to cause the flexible element to stretch when the flexible element is pulled or otherwise disposed into the trench or moat 705 as the fluid is removed or displaced from the region 701. The trench or moat 705 can be polished and shaped by mold or other suitable means so as to reduce or eliminate the number of sharp edges. In some embodiments, the trench or moat 705 may be utilized so as to prevent the fluid from reentering the gap between the flexible element and the first surface of the first lens component (e.g. it may be utilized to folin a seal of the dynamic region 701). In some embodiments, the diameter of the trench or moat 705 may be within the range of approximately 10 to 50 mm. Preferably, the diameter of the trench or moat 705 is within the range of approximately 20 to 35 mm.

In some embodiments, the fluid can enter and exit the dashed region 701 using a channel 706. The channel is shown in FIG. 7 to extend horizontally from the dynamic power region 701 but is not so limited. That is, the channel 706 can extend from the dynamic power region 701 in any direction or at any angle (e.g., it may be sloped at a slight angle away from the dynamic power region 701). The channel 706 may connect to one or more reservoirs that retain the fluid when it is not applied between the flexible element and the first surface of the first lens component.

The dynamic power region 701 and surrounding moat 705 can be any size or shape. In general, it may be preferred that the size of the dynamic power region 701 and surrounding moat 705 can be a size that will fit within the dimension of any frame style or shape. For example, for a lens frame having a vertical height of approximately 48 mm, the diameter of the dynamic power region 701 and surrounding moat 705 can have a diameter that is between 43 mm and 44 mm. For example, a lens frame having a vertical height of approximately 26 mm, the diameter of the dynamic power region 701 and surrounding moat 705 can have a diameter that is between 21 mm and 22 mm.

With reference to FIG. 8, the exemplary dynamic lens 200 is shown in a side view. The region 801 of the flexible element that is permanently bonded or adhered to the lens 200 is distinguished from the region 802 of the flexible element having a shape than can be adjusted based on the amount of fluid that is located between the region 802 of the flexible element and the portion 803 of the first surface of the first lens component. In some embodiments, and as shown in FIG. 8, when the amount of fluid between the region 802 of the flexible element and the portion 803 of the first surface is sufficiently great, an optical feature or features on surface 803 may not contribute to the optical power of that region of the lens 200 (for instance, when the indexes of refraction are matched). As the fluid in the area between the region 802 of the flexible element and surface 803 is removed or displaced, the region 802 of flexible element may move closer to, and eventually conform to, the portion 803 of the first surface.

With reference to FIG. 9, the exemplary dynamic lens 200 is shown. The exemplary lens 200 in FIG. 9 has a rotationally symmetric aspheric add zone 901. When exposed (e.g. when an amount of index matched fluid is sufficiently low), this add zone 901 shown in FIG. 9 can provide an add power of 2.50 D (although add zone 901 may have any value of add power). The rotationally symmetric aspheric add zone 901 can have a rotationally symmetric continuous optical power profile having a lower optical power at its periphery 902 than at its center. The periphery 902 may or may not have an optical power discontinuity (for example, it may have an optical discontinuity of 0.25 D as shown in FIG. 9). In some embodiments, a discontinuity of a dynamic lens 200 can be a discontinuity of slope or sag. It should be understood that a discontinuity of a dynamic lens 200 can be a power discontinuity having any optical power value. In some embodiments, the dynamic lens 200 shown in FIG. 9 may provide the distance and/or near optical power due, at least in part, to the shape of the first lens component (i.e. the substrate) comprising a bifocal surface curvature. That is, for example, when the fluid between the first surface of the first lens surface and a region of the flexible element is sufficiently low, the bifocal surface curvature on the first lens surface may provide the near and distance optical power.

With reference to FIG. 10, a front view of the exemplary dynamic lens 200 is shown. In this embodiment, the dynamic lens 200 is shown as having a dynamic power region 1001 with a shape that corresponds to the progressive addition surface located on the first surface of the first lens components that a region of the flexible element can conform to when the amount fluid between these components is sufficiently low so that the region of the flexible element conforms to the progressive addition surface. In some embodiments, the distance, intermediate, and/or near optical power (e.g. for a user of the dynamic lens 200) is created due to the progressive curve of the first surface when the amount of fluid between the first lens component and the flexible element is sufficiently low.

Continuing with reference to FIG. 10, similar to FIG. 7, a bond line 1002 shows the separation between the region of the flexible element that is adhered to the lens 200 (outside of the bond line 1002) and the region 1001 of the flexible element that is not adhered to the lens 200 (which is inside of the bond line 1002). The exemplary lens 200 shown in FIG. 10 may use the internal progressive surface (which may, for example, be located on the first surface at or below the fitting point 1003 of the first lens component) to provide the full add power of the lens 200. In some embodiments, the internal progressive surface can be in optical communication with another optical element of the lens (e.g., a progressive addition region positioned on the second (e.g. back) surface of the lens) such that internal progressive surface provides a first component of a total add power of the lens. That is, in some embodiments the progressive surface (which may, for example, be located on a first surface of a first lens component, e.g. surface 11 of FIG. 1) can be such that it provides a “full” optical add power or a “partial” optical add power. In some embodiments when the first surface provides a partial optical add power, another progressive surface may be free formed or otherwise provided on another surface (such as surface 12, which is the surface closest to the eye of the wearer as illustrated in FIG. 1) to allow for a combination of add power to provide full positive add power for the wearer.

In some embodiments, the dynamic power region 1001 of a dynamic lens 200 can be in optical communication with one or more optical elements such that the combined elements provide the desired optical power for a particular vision zone (e.g., either an intermediate or near vision zone). The one or more optical elements may comprise a portion of the dynamic lens 200 (such as a part of the second surface of the first lens component) or may be separate optical elements.

In some embodiments, a progressive addition region is a non-rotationally symmetric surface that does not add to the thickness to the first convex surface curvature, even if the progressive addition region is located on the first surface of the first lens component. In some embodiments where a progressive addition surface curvature is located on the first surface of the first lens component (e.g. first surface 11 in FIGS. 1-3) and where the optical feature is that of a progressive addition surface region and/or curvature, a moat or trench 1004 may be located along a portion of the dynamic optical region 1001 that is below that of the point where the progressive addition surface curvature contributes maximum optical add power. In some embodiments, (not illustrated in FIG. 10) the moat or trench 1004 is located “completely” below the point whereby the progressive addition surface contributes its maximum optical add power, while in other embodiments (also not illustrated in FIG. 10) the moat or trench 1004 is located “mostly” below the point whereby the progressive addition surface contributes its maximum optical add power. By “mostly,” this means that the majority of the length the moat or trench may be located below the point where the progressive addition surface contributes its maximum optical add power. In some embodiments, the point at which the progressive addition surface contributes its maximum optical add power maximum may also correspond to the total add power of the lens.

With reference to FIG. 11, four examples of exemplary dynamic lens 200 are shown in various shapes and sizes to accommodate a wide range of lens and frame styles. That is, the in some embodiments, the dynamic lens 200 may be inserted or used with eyeglasses or spectacles. In some embodiments, the dynamic lens may be used in other applications, such as in an imaging apparatus, a camera, any systems that utilize and/or focuses lasers, and/or any other optical system that utilizes lenses. The dynamic lens 200 can be made to have any desired shape or size. The examples shown in FIG. 11 can be lenses for eyeglasses for a patient's right eye. A person of ordinary skill in the art would understand that any known means for shaping a lens may be used. Each of the dynamic power regions 1101 could have the same optical feature, regardless of the overall shape of the dynamic lens 200.

With reference to FIG. 12, an example of the exemplary dynamic lens 200 is shown positioned within an exemplary spectacle frame 1200. As shown in FIG. 12, a channel 1201 of the dynamic lens 200 is coupled to an actuator 1202 and reservoir 1203 positioned in or near a temple of the spectacle frame 1200. The actuator 1202 can use the channel 1201 to pump the fluid of the dynamic lens 200 into and out of the reservoir 1203 to dynamically alter the optical power provided by the dynamic lens 200. One skilled in the pertinent arts will appreciate that a variety of actuators can be used to help move or displace the fluid of the dynamic lens 200. For example, in some embodiments the dynamic lens 200 can use a mechanical actuator, electronic actuator, a fuel cell actuator or a manual actuator. The actuator may also be a syringe, plunger, pump that is mechanically (e.g., spring loaded), manually, electrically, or electro-mechanically moved or adjusted to move the placement of the fluid of the dynamic lens 200. In some embodiments, the dynamic lens 200 may have or be connected to multiple actuators 1202 and/or multiple reservoirs 1203. An air tight seal can be formed between the one or more actuators 1202, the one or more reservoirs 1203, and the one or more dynamic power regions 1204 (i.e., the regions that allow the fluid to enter and exit each component) to enable good flow of the fluid of the dynamic lens 200. Although illustrated in the context of spectacles or eyeglasses, it should be appreciated that any configuration of an actuator 1202 and reservoir 1203 may be used based on the application for which dynamic lens 200 is being used.

The example illustrated in FIG. 12 can be lenses for use in a patient's right eye. As noted above, the dynamic lens 200 can use one or more reservoirs 1203. Further, embodiments that use dynamic lens 200 in spectacles or frames are not limited to having the one or more reservoirs 1203 in the location shown in FIG. 12. For instance, one or more reservoirs 1203 can be positioned within the nose bridge of a frame housing a dynamic lens 200. Further, in some embodiments a dynamic lens 200 can use multiple reservoirs 1203 positioned in various locations in relation to the lens 200. For example, a first reservoir can be positioned in a temple and a second reservoir can be located in a nose bridge. Again, any suitable location for the actuator 1202 and the reservoir 1203 may be used.

With reference to FIG. 13, an example embodiment of the lens 100 is shown. The exemplary lens 100 in this illustration is shown as having an optical feature 14 on the first surface 11 (the front surface as shown) of the first lens component 10. In some embodiments, the optical feature 14 can be a constant optical power region (when no longer covered by the fluid 20 such that there is a sufficiently low amount of fluid 20 between a region of the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11) and can have a spherical or aspherical curvature that is different from the rest of the first surface 11. As such, in some embodiments the lens 100, when the first surface 11 is no longer covered by the fluid 20 such that there is a sufficiently low amount of fluid 20 between a region of the flexible element 5 and the first surface 11, can be a multifocal lens.

As shown in FIG. 13, the exemplary lens 100 is in a first state, whereby there is a sufficiently great amount of fluid 20 between the first surface 11 and a region of the flexible element 5, such that the optical feature 14 does not contribute to the optical power of the dynamic optical region. Light rays 101 that enter the lens 100 parallel are thereby shown as emerging from the lens substantially parallel. As described above, in some embodiments, even in this first stage, the lens 100 may have some optical power.

With reference to FIG. 14, the exemplary embodiment of lens 100 shown in FIG. 13 is now illustrated in a second state, whereby the amount of fluid 20 is sufficiently low so as to no longer separate the optical feature 14 from a region of the flexible element 5. As such, the region of the flexible element 5 has conformed in the dynamic optical power region 1401 to the shape of the optical feature 14 located on the first surface 11 of the first lens component 10. As shown in this embodiment, the lens 100 can provide an optical power in a lower portion of the lens 100 that is different from an optical power provided by an upper portion of the lens 100. This is illustrated in FIG. 14 by light rays 1402 that enter the lens in the dynamic optical power region 1401 and are refracted in accordance with the optical power as defined or contributed to by the optical feature 14. In contrast, light rays 1403 that enter the lens 100 in a different region are not refracted.

It should be noted that while flexible element 5 may be flexible, it may also be stretchable. That is, in some embodiments the flexible element 5 is only flexible, and in some embodiments the flexible element 5 may be stretchable and flexible. When flexible element 5 is stretched and/or flexed to conform to the shape of surface 11 and/or optical feature 14, the stretching can aid the fluid 20 to refill the chamber (i.e. the gap between the first surface 11 and the flexible element 5) of the lens 100 when the flexible element 5 is released and/or no longer conforms to the first surface 11.

With reference to FIG. 15, another embodiment of an exemplary dynamic lens 300 is shown. FIGS. 15(a) and FIG. 15(b) illustrate exemplary lens 300 in a first state (FIG. 15(a)) and a second state (FIG. 15(b)). That is, FIG. 15(a) shows the lens 300 when there is a sufficiently great amount of fluid 330 between the first surface 360 for the first lens component 310 and a third lens component 320 such that the optical feature 370 does not contribute to the optical power of the lens 300 (for embodiments where the index of refraction of the fluid 330 is substantially the same as the first 310 and third 320 lens components). In the embodiment illustrated, rather than a flexible membrane, the lens 300 may use a porous plug 350 to fill the region between the first 310 and third 320 lens components when the fluid 330 is substantially removed from the chamber. A channel 340 is also provided for removing or displacing the fluid 330. In this exemplary embodiment, the third lens component 320 may comprise a cover lens. As illustrated, in this exemplary embodiment, light rays 1501 that enter the lens 300 parallel, emerge from the lens 300 substantially parallel.

In contrast, FIG. 15(b) shows the exemplary lens 300 in a second state, whereby the fluid 330 has been substantially removed from the area between the first 310 and third 320 lens components. Air now fills this region (which may have entered through the porous plug 350) and the difference between the index of refraction of the air and the first 310 and/or third 320 lens components, along with the properties of the optical feature 370 located on the first surface 360, may create a positive optical power. This is illustrated by light rays 1502 entering the lens 300 in the dynamic optical region and being refracted by the optical power. In0 this embodiment, when the fluid 330 is pumped or otherwise applied between the first 310 and third 320 lens components, the optical power is eliminated (the air being displaced by the returning fluid 330 passes through the porous plug 350).

With reference to FIG. 16, an exploded view in cross-section of another embodiment of exemplary lens 300 is shown. In this embodiment, the lens 300 comprises a substrate 310 (e.g. a first lens component), outer rigid lid 320 (e.g. a third lens component), a fluid 330 (which may be indexed matched), and a flexible element 350 (e.g. a membrane). A fluid port 340 (e.g. a channel) allows pumping in and sucking out (or any other means of displacing) of the fluid 330. The first lens component 300 has a Thickness of T1, an inside Radius of Curvature R1, an Outside Radius of Curvature R2, and a Central Outside Radius of Curvature R3. When the value of R2 equals R1 plus T1, virtually zero optical power exists in the first lens component 300. As the Radius of Curvature of R1 is made shallower relative to the Radius of Curvature R2, greater positive optical power is added to the first lens component 300. Similarly, when the Radius of Curvature R2 is made steeper than Radius of Curvature R1, greater optical power is added to the first lens component 300. Radius of Curvature R3, when steeper than Radius of Curvature R1, adds positive optical power to first lens component 300 in the area of Radius of Curvature R3 (e.g. in this embodiment, the dynamic optical power region). As shown in FIG. 16, fluid 330, flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320 are placed a distance away from the first lens component 300 only for illustrative purposes for convenient and clearer viewing of these components. In this embodiment, these components are brought together as shown in FIG. 17.

With reference to FIG. 17, the exemplary lens 300 is shown in cross-sectional view. The flexible element 350 is located between (i.e. sandwiched) the third lens component (e.g. an Outer Rigid Lid) 320 and the first lens component (e.g. a Substrate) 300, with fluid 330 (which may be index matched) pressing flexible element 350 against the third lens component 320. The inner Radius of Curvature of the third lens component 320 may provide the shape required for a region of the flexible element 350 to conform to and to provide the desired optical effect. That is, the third lens component 320 may serve as an optical power stop.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 17, virtually zero optical power exists in this assembly when the fluid 330 is index matched and the curvature of the inner Radius of Curvature (i.e. the first surface) and the outer Radius of Curvature (i.e. the second surface) of the third lens component 320 matches the curvature of the second surface 380 of the first lens component 310. In some embodiments, the optical power stop created by the third lens component 320 may define an optical power for a viewer's distance vision. That is, similar to the first surface of the first lens component 310, the first surface of the third lens component 320 may comprise any optical feature. Thus, embodiments of the lens 300 when in the first state, as illustrated in FIG. 17, may provide a corrective optical power for any prescription need by a viewer, which may be based, in part, on the curvature of the first surface of the third lens component 320. Moreover, the outer surface (e.g. the second surface) of the third lens component may also comprise any optical feature and/or any curvature that may contribute to the optical power of the lens 300 (or a region thereof).

Embodiments that comprise a third lens component may also prevent the over pressurization of flexible element 350 by fluid 330 into an undesired shape. The third lens component 320 may further provide a protective layer over flexible element 350, which may prevent the flexible element 350 from damage from external forces. It may also be easier to replace the third lens component 320, rather than having to replace the flexible element 350, which thereby decreases maintenance costs.

With reference to FIG. 18, the exemplary lens 300 shown in FIG. 17 is illustrated in a second state whereby the fluid 330 has been removed or displaced (e.g. sucked out) of the assembly through channel (e.g. port) 340. A region of the flexible element 350 is pressed against and/or conforms to the outer shape of first lens component 310. Air, or fluid, may be allowed to fill the space between the flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320 through an access port (not shown). In this embodiment as shown, positive optical power may created in the central section of first lens component 310 (the dynamic optical power region), in the area defined by Radius of Curvature R3. In some embodiments, the third lens component 320 and any optical feature on either the first or second surface (including the curvature of either surface) may also contribute to the optical power of the lens 100.

In some embodiments, rather than “sucking out” the index matched fluid 330 through channel 340, air or non-index-matched fluid may be forced into the gap shown between flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320 to expel the fluid 330 from the gap between flexible element 350 and the first lens element 310, forcing it to travel through channel 340 by positive pressure on the right side of channel 340 (i.e., pumping) rather than negative pressure on the left side of channel 340 (i.e., sucking). This will be discussed in more detail with reference to FIG. 21 below.

With reference to FIG. 19, an embodiment of exemplary lens 300 is shown. In this embodiment as shown in FIG. 19, the flexible element 350 is the outermost optical element without a protective lid or other third lens component. In the embodiment shown, the fluid 330 (which may be index matched) inflates the flexible element 350 into a spherical shape such that no optical power exists in the assembly. That is, the outer curvature of flexible element 350 matches the curvature of the second surface (e.g. back surface as shown) of the first lens component 310. As fluid 330 is removed from the gap between the flexible element 350 and the first lens component 310, the shape of the curvature of the flexible element 350 may begin to change, thereby changing the optical power of the dynamic optical power region of lens 300 (e.g. tuning the optical power of lens 300 toward the optical power provided by the first surface of the first lens component 310). This tuning may continue until substantially all of the fluid 330 is removed from the gap, and the flexible element 350 (or a region thereof) thereby conforms to the first surface of the first lens component 310 (which thereby serves as the optical power stop).

With reference to FIG. 20, the exemplary lens 300 shown in FIG. 19 is illustrated in a second state. That is, FIG. 20 shows flexible element 350 conforming to the shape of first lens component 310 after fluid 330 has been sucked out (or otherwise removed or displaced) through channel (i.e. port) 340. In this state, positive optical power has been created in the central zone (i.e. the dynamic optical power region) where the steeper radius of curvature exists. In some embodiments, the flexible element 350 may also be a semi-rigid material that is sufficiently flexible to allow it to conform to the shape of the first lens component 310 when the fluid 330 is removed or displaced, yet resilient enough to return to its original spherical shape when the fluid 330 is returned into the gap between the first lens component 310 and the flexible element 350, without requiring fluid 330 to inflate it to the shape with positive pressure. In some embodiments, if the flexible element 350 is over-pressurized by fluid 330, a negative optical power may be created in the region that the flexible element 350 inflates beyond the normal radius. That is, if the flexible element 350 is over pressurized so that the radius of curvature of its outer surface is reduced, this region may have an effect on the optical power of lens 300. Although in describing exemplary lens 300 in this embodiment the first lens element 310 has been described as having zero optical power, it may be desirable to build into the first lens component 310 a fixed positive or negative optical power, which can be accomplished by varying the ratio of the inner and outer radius of curvatures. In such embodiments, even in the first state illustrated in FIG. 19, the lens 300 will thereby have some optical power.

As noted above, the flexible element may comprise a which in some embodiments, by way of example only, may comprise biaxially oriented polyethelene terephthalate (available under the trade name Mylar) or urethane. However there are many other materials which have the appropriate transparency, toughness, and refractive index which can be used as the flexible element.

With reference to FIG. 21, an embodiment of dynamic lens 300 is shown whereby rather than allowing air to fill the space once occupied by the index matched fluid 330, a second optical fluid 370 having a different index of refraction may be applied to (e.g. pumped into) the cavity instead. By varying the index of refraction of the second optical fluid 370 (that is, the second optical fluid may have an index of refraction that does not match the index of refraction of the first lens component), the optical power of the lens assembly may be varied. This may permit the same lens components to be used in different lenses, with each of the lenses having a different optical power. That is, the optical power of the same lens (e.g. having the same first lens component, second lens component, etc.) may be “programmed” by selecting a different index of refraction for the second optical fluid.

In some embodiments, a flexible element 350 may also be used. The flexible element 350 may be used to keep contamination and bubbles out of the fluids, and also may serve to keep the two optical fluids apart. In some embodiments, flexible element 350 does not create the optical power of the lens, but it is the shape of first surface 360 (along with any optical features that may be located thereon), coupled with the index of refraction difference between the first lens component and the second optical fluid at the first surface 360 (or lack thereof) that creates the optical power, which may be thereby controlled by the index of refraction of the fluids. In some embodiments, the flexible element 350 may also have a different index of refraction than the second optical fluid that may contribute to the optical power of the lens 300. In some embodiments, the second optical fluid 370 may be applied to the gap between the flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320.

In operation, in some embodiments the lens 300 may be in a first state whereby the first optical fluid 330 substantially fills the gap between the first lens surface 310 and the flexible element 350 (or a region thereof). In some embodiments, fluid 330 may be index matched to the first lens component, as described above, however, it is not so limited and may have any index of refraction. In this first state, in some embodiments the amount of the second optical fluid 370 between the flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320 may be sufficiently low. In some embodiments, in this exemplary first state the flexible element 350 or a region thereof may conform to the first surface of the third lens component 320 (e.g. the curvature of the inner Radius of Curvature of the third lens component 320 as shown in FIG. 21), which may provide a desired optical power for the lens 300 (e.g. an optical power for distance vision correction).

In a transitional state, the first optical fluid 330 (or an amount thereof) may be displaced from the area between the first lens surface 310 and the flexible element 350. The second optical fluid 370 may be applied to the region between the flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320. In some embodiments, the first optical fluid 330 may be displaced or removed at approximately the same time as the second optical fluid 370 is applied. In some embodiments, the application of the second optical fluid 370 forces or contributes to the displacement of the first optical fluid 370. That is, in some embodiments the application of the second optical fluid may apply pressure to the flexible membrane 350, which may in turn displace the first optical fluid 330 from the region between the flexible element 350 and the first surface 360.

In some embodiments, in a transitional stage, the lens 300 may comprise a sufficiently great amount of the first optical fluid 330 between the first lens component 310 and the flexible element 350, and a sufficiently great amount of the second optical fluid 370 between the flexible element 350 and the third lens component 320. In some embodiments, a transitional stage may provide a desired optical power for vision correction of a wearer. Moreover, as noted above, in some embodiments, the transitional stage may comprise the ability to tune the lens between a first optical power and a second optical power, which may be provided by the first 310 and third lens components 320, respectively. Preferably, the second optical fluid 370 may have an index of refraction that is different than the index of refraction of first the first optical fluid 330. In some embodiments the flexible element 350 may have an index of refraction that is different from the index of refraction of the second fluid 370. In some embodiments, the second optical fluid 370 may have an index of refraction that is substantially the same as the index of refraction of the first lens component and/or the same as the third lens component 320. As would be understood by one of skill in the art, by varying the index of refraction of the various components and fluids of the lens 300, different optical powers may be achieved based, in part, on the refraction of the light waves at the interfaces.

In a second or final state, the amount of fluid between the first lens component 310 and the flexible element 350 may be sufficiently low, while the amount of the second optical fluid 370 between the flexible element 350 and third lens component 320 may be sufficiently great. In some embodiments, a region of the flexible element 350 may conform to a portion of the first surface 360 of the first lens component 310. In some embodiments, where the index of refraction of the second optical fluid 370 is substantially the same as index of refraction of the first lens component 310, any optical feature provided on the first surface 360 of the first lens component 310 may be masked or hidden (that is, the first surface 360 may not contribute to the optical power of the lens 300 in the dynamic optical power region). In some embodiments, where the second optical fluid 370 has an index of refraction that is substantially the same as the third lens component 310, any optical feature on the first surface of the third lens component 320 may be masked or hidden (that is, the first surface of the third lens component 320 may not contribute to the optical power of the lens of the dynamic optical power region).

While some embodiments have been described and illustrated as comprising two optical stops (e.g. FIGS. 16-21) with a particular optical feature or features, as was stated above this was for illustration purposes only. It should be understood that any and all surface designs of the first surface (e.g. the surface that defines an optical power stop, such as surface 360 in the described embodiments) of the first lens component may be utilized to provide any desired optical power in embodiments that comprise a third lens component (e.g. the cover lens or top lid 320 as shown in FIGS. 16-21). Similarly, any and all surface designs may be used for any of the other surfaces of the dynamic lens 300 (e.g. the surface of inner curvature of the third lens component 320) to provide any desired optical power, or contribute to an optical power of the dynamic lens 300.

As noted above, the embodiments illustrated in FIG. 1-21 and described herein were for illustration purposes only, and are not meant to be limiting. For instance, it should be understood that any of the embodiments in FIG. 1-21 can also provide only a partial positive add power in a dynamic optical region. In some embodiments, a partial add power progressive surface can also be free foamed on a surface that is not adjacent to the flexible membrane (e.g. the second surface 12 as shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 13-14; the surface 380 shown in FIGS. 15-21, or any other suitable lens component or surface in a dynamic lens), which may comprise a surface of a lens component closest to the eye of a viewer. In some embodiments, this permits a combination of add powers to provide full positive add power for the wearer.

Reference will now be made to the elements as described in FIG. 1 for illustration purposes only, but the principles discussed may be equally applicable to other embodiments. Embodiments of the invention may allow for the processing of a dynamic lens by way of free forming, digital surfacing, conventional surfacing and polishing of a lens blank that comprises a fluid into that of a customized lens having a specific prescription that is prescribed or measured by an eye care provider for a specific patient wearer of the inventive lens. Again, with reference to the elements described in FIG. 1 (for illustration purposes), embodiments of a dynamic lens can be made such that first lens component (e.g. first lens component 10) can be that of a semi-finished lens blank having the desired finished curve of first surface 11 on the same side of the lens blank as that of the flexible element 5, and having a non-finished surface curve on the second surface (e.g. back surface as shown) 12. Although for illustration purposes the desired finished curve was shown on the convex side and the non-finished surface curve was shown on the second surface 12 of the first lens component 10, embodiments can be reversed such that the finished curve is located on the second surface 12 along with flexible element 5, and the non-finished curve may be located on first surface (e.g. a front surface) 11.

In some embodiments, the flexible element 5 may be adhesively bonded to the finished surface of the lens component 10 (which can also be referred to as a lens blank if finished on both surfaces or semi-finished lens blank if finished on only one surface and unfinished on the opposing surface) with the exception of a region that covers optical feature 14. In some embodiments, the semi-finished lens blank can be blocked by way of convention blocking and the non-finished surface can be free foamed, digitally surfaced, or surfaced and polished to the appropriate curvature such to give the dynamic lens the intended prescription when flexible membrane 5 is in a relaxed non-conformal state (e.g. the first state described in FIG. 1) and also when flexible membrane 5 (or a region thereof) is in a non-relaxed conformal state (e.g. the second state described in FIG. 3). In this manner, embodiments of the dynamic lens may, for instance, provide correction for a viewer for both near and distant vision. Moreover, by utilizing an optical power stop of the first lens component, and a second optical power stop at the third lens component (as described with reference to FIGS. 17 and 18), the corrective optical power can be readily and accurately returned to in the fluid lens.

Embodiments may allow for the multifocal power of a dynamic lens to focus for near vision, for instance, at 15″-20″, and more preferably at 16″ to 18″ when flexible element 5 is in a non-relaxed conformal state. As described above, by conformal state the means that the flexible element 5 (or a region thereof) mostly conforms to the shape of the first surface 11, which may include optical feature 14 (shown, for example in FIGS. 13 and 14). In some embodiments, when flexible element 5 is relaxed, it may provide the distance vision corrective power at optical infinity (e.g. 20 feet or greater from the wearer) for the wearer of the dynamic lens. This may be made possible, in part, when fluid 20 is index matched so as to hide or mask optical feature 14 when the membrane is relaxed and not in a conformal state.

Also in some embodiments, depending upon the design of the first surface 11 and optical feature 14 (shown in FIGS. 13 and 14), it may be possible when flexible element 5 (or a region thereof) is in the conformal non-relaxed state that both the near vision distance (e.g for objects at a distance of 15″ to 20″) and also objects at an intermediate vision distance (e.g. about 20″ to 5 feet) to all be in focus. In some embodiments, objects at all distances (near vision distance, intermediate vision distance, and far distance vision of optical infinity) may all be corrected and in focus at the same time, but in different regions or zones of the inventive lens. This may comprises utilizing multiple optical features 14 at the different locations of the first surface of lens 11 of the first lens component.

In some embodiments, when the dynamic lens is in the relaxed/non-conformal state, the dynamic lens may provide the optical power required to correct the distance and/or the intermediate vision needs of the wearer. This can be accomplished by, for example, utilizing a partial add power progressive addition surface free formed or digitally surfaced on the surface of the lens opposite that of the surface comprising flexible element 5 (e.g. the back surface or second surface 12 of the first lens component 10 and/or a surface of the third lens component). The teen partial add power progressive addition surface is a progressive addition surface that does not provide the full add power needed of the wearer to see clearly at near distance. In some embodiments, the external surface curvatures of first lens component 10 (e.g. the second surface 12) can be fabricated to allow for distance and/or intermediate vision correction when the flexible element 5 (or a region thereof) is in the relaxed/non-conformal state, and near vision correction when in the non-relaxed/conformal state. It should be understood by one of ordinary skill that any combination of correction for near, intermediate, and far distance may be achieved in any of the conformal and non-conformal states based on the principles discussed herein utilizing, for example, shaping the optical properties of the surfaces of the first, second, and/or third lens components, or other optical features of the dynamic lens.

Embodiments allow for the fabrication of any and all optical prescriptions (including the fabrication of sphere, cylinder, prism, etc.) needed for a patient's vision correction. Those skilled in the art will readily understand this provides for the correction for astigmatism at any axis, as well as the spherical power needs, or a combination of both for the patient/wearer. Also as shown for example in FIG. 11, the dynamic lens can be edged and mounted into most any size and or shape eyeglass frame. In some embodiments, the first lens component 10 can be made of any material, so long as the refractive index of fluid 20 matches the index of the first lens component 10. For instance, the index of refractions may be substantially the same (e.g. within 0.05 units). Embodiments may thereby allow for material independence for the dynamic lens and therefore allow for the fabrication of a family of dynamic lenses, each having difference thicknesses and or optical properties for a given prescription. That is, for instance, the dynamic lens can comprise, by way of example only: CR 39 (1.49 index). Polycarbonate (1.60 index), MR 20 (1.60 index), MR10 (1.67 index), and/or Mitsui (1.74 index). As known in the optical industry, each of these materials represents certain advantages and also disadvantages and therefore the eye care provider may prescribe and/or recommend to the patient or wearer of the inventive lens the material combination they would prefer the patient or wearer to have. In embodiments, when tinting the dynamic lens a cover may be added to that of the surface comprising the flexible membrane 5. In some embodiments a cover 320 (e.g. the third lens component as illustrated in FIG. 16) can be hard coated and tinted. In some embodiments whereby cover 320 is not present, a temporary cover may be added to prevent the tint from penetrating into that of the flexible element 5. The tint may then be absorbed into the second surface of the dynamic lens and/or the side opposite flexible element 5.

As noted above, each of the dioptric powers, curvature radii, any dimension, and refractive index provided herein as examples are just examples only and are not intended to be limiting. Embodiments disclosed herein can provide any and all distance vision corrective optical power and add optical power needed or required for the wearer's optical needs. This can be accomplished, for example, by choosing the proper curves required of a first (e.g. front) surface, a second (e.g. back) surface, external surface curve of any included optical feature, and the appropriate thickness and refractive index as needed for the first lens component. Further and as noted above, embodiments of the dynamic lens can be that of a lens, a lens blank that is finished on both sides, or a semi-finished lens blank that must be one of free formed or digitally surfaced, or surfaced and polished into a final finished lens.

Embodiments will now be described in terms of an embryonic optical apparatus, methods of providing and obtaining an optical apparatus, and an optical apparatus and eyeglasses comprising optical apparatuses and methods of making eyeglasses. It is noted that any of these embodiments may be used in whole or in part with the teachings detailed above. It is noted that the term embryonic connotes the state of an apparatus that is to be modified into a final state, where the person of skill in the art can recognize that the embryonic apparatus is modifyable into the final state.

FIGS. 22A and 22B provide a conceptual cross-sectional schematic of an exemplary embryonic optical apparatus/lens according to an exemplary embodiment when viewed from the side. In this exemplary embodiment, the front of the lens is convex, and the back of the lens is concave. In an exemplary embodiment, the lens depicted in FIG. 22A includes a dynamic liquid lens in the form of a balloonable region, where FIG. 22B depicts the balloonable region in an extended state. In an exemplary embodiment, the convex surface of the back of the lens may be altered to have a progressive region in the form of a low power progressive add surface, as may be conceptually seen in FIG. 22B. Additional details of the exemplary embryonic optical apparatus/lens will now be described.

Referring to FIGS. 22C and 22D, in an exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus 2200 comprising a first lens component in the form of a lens blank 2210. The first lens component may be an unfinished or an semi-finished lens blank (FIGS. 22C and 22D, respectively). Referring to FIG. 22C, the lens blank 2210 includes a first surface 2214, corresponding to a front surface of the lens blank 100, and a second surface 2212 on an opposite side of the lens blank 110, corresponding to a back surface, as may be seen in FIG. 22C. The front surface is a surface of a finished optical apparatus that is further from the viewer than the back surface when the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 is finished into an optical apparatus and incorporated into eyeglasses. As may be seen, the front surface is a convex surface relative to a location in front of the front of the lens blank 2210, and the back surface of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 22C is flat, while the back surface of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 22D is a concave surface relative to a location in back of the back of the lens blank 2210. In an exemplary embodiment, the lens blank 2210 may be later altered in a permanent matter, as will be detailed below, to obtain a lens according to first lens component 10 detailed above, and/or lens blank 2210 may correspond to the lens component of FIG. 8 upon which the flexible element is located. Lens blank 2210 may correspond to any one or more of the lens blanks detailed herein and/or may be permanently altered to obtain any one or more of the lenses detailed herein and variations thereof.

Still referring to FIGS. 22C and 22D, the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 further comprises a second lens component 2220 comprising a flexible element. At least a portion of the second lens component 2220 is adhered to the first surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210. Referring to FIG. 23, which shows the embodiment of FIG. 22C with the flexible element of the second lens component 2220 in an extended state (it is noted that FIG. 23 is also applicable to the embodiment of FIG. 22D if the back surface is change to a concave shape). Specifically, it may be seen that the second lens component 2220 comprises a first region 2222 that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 with respect to a light path 2300 through the first region 2222 and the first surface 2214 (light path 2300 is depicted for representative purposes only, and is not drawn to show the impact of the dynamically adjusted optical power). As described herein and below, the defined optical power can be any optical power, such as that for a near prescription, a far prescription, etc. In an exemplary embodiment, the second lens component 2220 corresponds to the flexible element 5 and/or the flexible element of lens 200 with respect to FIG. 8 and/or the flexible element of lens 300 and/or any other flexible element detailed herein and variations thereof. In some embodiments the flexible element 2220 is retained to the first lens component 2210 in a manner according to one or more of the manners that the flexible elements detailed herein are retained to a lens and variations thereof.

The embryonic optical apparatus 2200 is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface 2212 is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power of the first lens 2210 at least a second region of the second surface 2212, the second region being optically aligned with the first region 2222, thereby resulting in a prescription-quality ophthalmic optical apparatus. (It is noted herein that the following embodiments are directed towards ophthalmic optical apparatuses whether stated or unstated, but the following embodiments are also directed towards optical apparatuses other than ophthalmic optical apparatuses.) FIG. 24 depicts such a resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′, which includes altered first lens component 2210′. As may be seen, altered first lens component 2210′ includes a surface 2212′ altered from surface 2212. In an exemplary embodiment, the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 is configured such that at least a portion of the second surface 2212 is permanently alterable to permanently define an optical power, corresponding to a distance prescription of an eyeglass wearer, of the first lens at least the second region of the second surface 2212 and/or configured such that at least a portion of the second surface 2212 is permanently alterable to permanently define a positive optical power of the first lens at least the second region of the second surface 2212.

In an exemplary embodiment, the lens blank 2210 is a conventional optical semi-finished lens blank or an unfinished lens blank (but on other embodiments, it may be substituted with a finished lens). The flexible element 2220 may be a transparent membrane 2220 located on or otherwise covering the front convex surface o the lens blank 2210. The transparent membrane 2220 includes a region 2222 capable of being altered, which, in an exemplary embodiment, as noted above, corresponds to deformation as a result of pressure applied to the side of the membrane facing the lens blank 2210. As will be described in greater detail below, the lens blank 2210 may be, after the flexible element 2220 is retained to the lens blank 2210, subsequently purposely altered via free forming, polishing and/or surfacing and/or a combination thereof, or any other acceptable method, on its back surface 2212 (which may be a concave shaped surface, in contrast to that depicted in FIG. 22C) into a prescription-quality optical apparatus for a user, such as the wearer of eyeglasses into which the prescription-quality optical apparatus is fitted, as is detailed by way of example below. By “prescription-quality optical apparatus,” it is meant an optical apparatus having a finished quality that may be used in a pair of prescription eyeglasses pursuant to standards for such optical apparatuses set by the pertinent regulatory agencies of the United States of America, whether or not it is ultimately so used. By way of example, such an optical apparatus may be used in a pair of non-prescription eyeglasses, providing that the lens blank 2210 may be finished into a prescription-quality optical apparatus. Altering the lens blank 2210 may result in lens with a back having a surface having a spherical curve (as may be desired based on the sight characteristics of the user), toric curve (as may be desired based on the sight characteristics of the user, which may, for example, correct a astigmatism of the user), or a spherical toric curve (as may be desired based on the sight characteristics of the user). In some embodiments, altering the back may provide for a low power progressive addition surface that corrects some, but not all of the near power needs of the wearer, as will be described in greater detail below. By low power progressive addition lens it is meant having an add power that is less than that required by the wearer to see clearly at near when reading at 12 inches to 18 inches from the wearer's face. By way of example only, and as will be further detailed below, if the wearer requires an add power of +2.50D then the low power progressive addition lens would have an add power less than +2.50D.

The second lens component 2220, which may be a front convex surface membrane-like covering, provides for a dynamic lens component that is in optical communication with back surface 2212, and, after that surface is altered, the altered back surface 2212′ of the altered first lens component 2210′, the altered back surface 2212′ being, for example, a low power progressive addition back surface. In an exemplary embodiment,

In an exemplary embodiment, second lens component 2220 of the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 and the resulting optical apparatus 2200′ forms a dynamic fluid lens located on the front convex surface of the semi-finished lens blank and also the final finished lens and any intermediate finished lens. More specifically, in an exemplary embodiment, the dynamic fluid lens comprises a membrane-like covering that covers the front convex surface of the semi-finished lens blank and the final inventive lens and any intermediate finished lens. Put another way, the exemplary front convex surface of the first lens component 2210/altered first lens component 2210′ may be covered with a transparent membrane 2220 that is capable of being shaped, altered or otherwise deformed, at least in a reversible manner. Such shaping, altering or deformation may be accomplished through pressure adjustment on the membrane, as will be detailed below. In some embodiments, as noted above, the membrane, performance and/or functionality thereof may correspond to any of the membranes detailed herein and variations thereof. In some embodiments, shaping, altering or deforming of the membrane is limited to a smaller localized region (e.g., region 2222 of FIG. 23) adjacent the front convex surface 2214 which is covered by the transparent membrane relative to the total area of the membrane adjacent the front convex surface 2214. In an exemplary embodiment, the membrane 2220 covering the front convex surface 2214 may be a plastic, rubber, or thin glass membrane or a composite material made of one or more of those components and/or other components, that is alterable, deformable or otherwise adjustable, reversibly, based on pressure on a given region of the membrane. In an exemplary embodiment, the dynamic fluid lens of the resulting optical apparatus 2200′ may correspond to any such dynamic fluid lens detailed herein and variations thereof.

In an exemplary embodiment, the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 and the resulting optical apparatus 2200′ includes a lens component 2220, which may be in the form of a membrane as detailed herein and variations thereof, having a first region 2222 that is balloonable in response to pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222. An example of such ballooning may be seen in FIG. 23. By balloonable, it is meant that a localized portion of the membrane is configured to expand outward away from the surface 2214 and contract inward towards the surface 2214 in a manner akin to a balloon inflating and deflating, the shape of the localized portion of the membrane having an arcuate cross-section that varies in an analogous manner to a cross-section of a portion of a balloon during inflation/deflation. The ballooning of the membrane at the first region 2222 dynamically adjusts an optical power of the embryonic optical apparatus with respect to a light path through the first region 2222 and the surface 2214 of the lens component 2210/altered lens component 2210′. As will be described in greater detail below, ballooning may be accomplished by adjusting a parameter of a fluid located between the balloonable portion of the membrane and the surface 2214 of the lens component 2210/altered lens component 2210′ in space 2310 (with reference to FIG. 23), thereby adjusting the pressure on the membrane.

Such adjustment of pressure as just detailed may be accomplished as further detailed below. However, briefly, in an exemplary embodiment, when the amount of fluid is increased in space 2310, membrane balloons away from surface 2214 because the pressure on the membrane 2220 at the localized region 2222 is increased. Further, in an exemplary embodiment, when the amount of fluid is decreased in space 2310, membrane balloons towards surface 2214 because the pressure on the membrane 2220 at the localized region 2222 is decreased. It is noted that space 2310 still exists in the total absence of fluid in space 2310, albeit of a reduced volume (e.g., for example, when membrane 2220 substantially completely conforms and lies on surface 2214). In an exemplary embodiment, reducing the pressure on the membrane 2220 by a specific amount corresponding to a given design of the embryonic optical apparatus 2200/optical apparatus 2220′ permits the membrane to return to an original shape which may be, for example, a shape that is conformal to the convex shape of surface 2214 of lens blank 2210/altered lens component 2210′. In an exemplary embodiment, the pressure on the membrane 2220 may be applied by a gas (e.g., air, nitrogen, dehumidified air, etc) or a liquid. The use of the term fluid as used herein is meant to be that of a gas or liquid. In at least some exemplary embodiments, all liquids and gases (including air) that may be used to practice at least some embodiments are applicable for use to generate/alter pressure on the membrane 2220. In some embodiments, the membrane 2220 has a transparency/transmission of 88% or about 88% or greater. By way of example only, transparent rubber, nylon, or mylar may be utilized as the membrane 2220.

As will be further detailed below, in an exemplary embodiment, the pressure on the membrane 2220 may be increased by heating the fluid. Any device, system or method to increase the pressure on the membrane 2220 to achieve the expansion detailed herein and variations thereof may be practiced in some embodiments.

The membrane 2220, which may be in the form of and will be described hereinafter in terms of a transparent membrane and/or flexible membrane and/or transparent flexible membrane covering which is applied to the lens blank 2210 (which may be a static semi-finished lens blank, as detailed herein), may be adhesively bonded to the surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210 (also referred to herein as the base lens). However, a region of the transparent membrane 2214, being of the proper dimensions and shape to allow for the required shape and curvature change (e.g., ballooning) of the localized portion of the membrane at region 2222 after pressure acting on at least that localized portion is adjusted is not bonded to the surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210. Because of this lack of bonding, in some embodiments, the surface of the localized portion o the membrane 2220 at region 2222 on the opposite side of the surface of the membrane 2220 facing the surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210 may be dynamically altered, or deformed (e.g., ballooned), as detailed herein. The adhesive used to adhere the transparent membrane 2220 to the front surface 2240 of the lens blank 2210 may be indexed matched to within 0.05 units, or to within 0.03 units or to within 0.01 units or less (or to any value of about 0.05 units or less (e.g., about 0.05 units or less, about 0.045 units or less, 0.04 units or less, 0.035 units or less . . . 005 units or less)) to that of the transparent membrane 2220 and/or to that of the fluid being provided within the space 2310 that is located between the region of the front surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210 and the region of the surface 2224 of the membrane where the transparent membrane 2220 is not adhesively bonded.

It is noted that in an exemplary embodiment, the membrane 2220 may instead be applied to the back surface of lens blank 2210 instead of the front surface. This back surface may be concave. In such an embodiment, the addition surface may be located on the front convex surface. By way of example, if a low power progressive addition surface (as will be described in greater detail below) is to be added to the lens blank 2210, such would then be located on the front convex surface of the lens blank 2210.

In an exemplary embodiment, a region of the transparent membrane 2220 covering surface 2214 of lens blank 2210 being of a shape that is a rounded shape (e.g., circular) and having a size of 10 mm in diameter is left unattached/unadhered to the front surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210. This region 2222 forms the dynamic optical power region of the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 and/or the resulting optical apparatus 2200′. The transparent membrane 2220, or at least the portion of the transparent membrane 2220 not adhered/unattached to the surface 2214 of the lens blank 2210 may be stretchable/made of a stretchable material (stretchable in at least an elastic manner to practice embodiments of the present invention). In some embodiments, any shape and size membrane/region 2222 may be used to practice some embodiments.

In an exemplary embodiment, the lens blank 2210 has a diameter proximate the front surface 2214 of 75 mm. In some embodiments, any shape and size lens blank 2210 may be used to practice some embodiments. The lens blank 2210 may be made of any optical material that will permit at least some embodiments to be practiced. By way of example only and not by way of limitation, the lens blank 2210 may be made of glass, plastic and/or rubber. Each of these materials can be of any index of refraction from 1.0 to 2.0 refractive index or higher or lower. Any and all optical grade materials can be used if such permits embodiments to be practiced, including by way of example only and not by way of limitation, CR 39, Polycarbonate, MR 6, MR 10, Mitsui 1.74.

As noted above, the embryonic optical apparatus 2200 is configured such that a surface of the lens blank 2210 may be purposely permanently altered to define an optical power of that lens blank 2210, thereby obtaining an altered lens component 2210′. This permanent alteration may be performed after the membrane 2220 is attached to the lens blank 2210. That is, the embryonic optical apparatus 2210 may be manufactured on an industrial scale (e.g., using a high-throughput production line which may be automated) yielding economies of scale and/or consistent and/or predictable quality (or statistically acceptable numbers having a requisite quality) with respect to the so-produced embryonic optical apparatuses 2210. The subsequent alteration of the surface 2212 of the lens blank 2210 to obtain a customized surface 2212′ defining an optical power and/or providing add power corresponding to, for example, an individual user's prescription for eyeglasses may be performed at a location remote from the location where the embryonic optical apparatuses 2210 are located, such as for example, at an optician's facility located locally with respect to the individual user and/or to the optometrist who prescribed the specific prescription for the user's glasses. As used herein, an optician is a person or company having the capability to free form, surface, polish and/or grind and/or one or more combinations thereof, a lens blank. In an exemplary embodiment, this permits an optometrist to stockpile quantities of the embryonic optical apparatus 2210 so that he/she can fill prescriptions for glasses having dynamic power capabilities on-site without having to wait for an optical apparatus satisfying the prescription to be delivered to him/her and/or the user and/or having to stockpile multiple finished lenses for specific prescription classifications/uses. In this vein, an exemplary methods that result in and/or enable the providing of an optical apparatus to a user, such as the wearer of glasses in which the optical apparatus has been combined, will now be described. It is noted at this time that in some embodiments, any embryonic optical apparatus as detailed herein may include some or all of the components and/or features of any optical apparatuses detailed herein, and any method that may be used to obtain an optical apparatus from an embryonic optical apparatus may result in an optical apparatus including some or all of the components and/or features of any optical apparatus as detailed herein.

Referring to FIG. 25, there is a method 2500 that comprises action 2510 which entails providing a lens assembly. The lens assembly may be an embryonic optical apparatus 2200 as detailed above and/or variations thereof. In an exemplary embodiment, the provided lens assembly includes a first lens component 2210 that includes a first surface 2214 and a second surface 2210 on an opposite side of the first lens component 2210 from the first surface 2214. In this exemplary embodiment, the provided lens assembly further includes a second lens component 2220 comprising a flexible element (e.g., the flexible membrane as detailed herein), at least a portion of the second lens component 2220 being adhered to the first surface 2214 of the first lens component. The flexible element of the second lens component 2220 comprises a first region 2222 that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface 2214 in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly 2200 with respect to a light path through the first region 2222 and the first surface 2214.

In an exemplary embodiment, the action of providing the lens assembly of action 2510 includes providing the lens assembly to a recipient such as, for example, an optician. Action 2510 may be accomplished by obtaining the lens assembly through, for example, direct manufacture, manufacture under license and/or manufacture by subcontract and subsequently having the obtained lens assembly delivered to the recipient via, for example, government mail, contract courier (e.g., FEDERAL EXPRESS™ and/or slower-speed distribution methods) and direct courier (e.g., courier owned by actor executing action 2510). Action 2510 of method 2500 may also be accomplished by directing or otherwise engaging a third party to manufacture or otherwise obtain the lens assembly and directing or otherwise engaging that third party or another party to have the obtained lens assembly delivered to the recipient. That is, action 2510 may be executed without ever taking possession (physically and/or legally) of the lens assembly provided to the recipient.

Method 2500 also includes action 2520, which entails the action of providing and indication that at least one component of the provided lens assembly is to be permanently altered. In an exemplary embodiment, action 2520 entails providing an indication that the first lens component 2210 is to be permanently altered in a manner that permanently defines an optical power of the first lens at least a second region of the second surface 2212 of the first lens component 2210, the second region being optically aligned with the first region 2222. Before further discussing this method action, it is noted that FIG. 24 depicts an exemplary result of permanently altering the lens blank 2210 at second region 2216 on second surface 2210 to permanently define an optical power of the second region 2216 of the first lens component/lens blank 2210 (resulting in the altered lens 2210′). As may be seen in FIG. 24, the second region 2216 is optically aligned with the first region 2222. It is noted that second region 2216 may be a smaller region if the altering action is limited to a subset of the surface 2212 of the first lens component 2210, such as may be the case with respect to, for example, the embodiment of FIG. 22D, in which the second region 2216 corresponds to a low power progressive addition surface located on the lower portion of the resulting optical apparatus that does not extend across the full diameter of the altered first lens component 2210′.

Action 2520 may be accomplished, by way of example, by having the indication that the component can be permanently altered delivered to the recipient of the lens assembly via, for example, government mail, contract courier (e.g., FEDERAL EXPRESS™ and/or slower-speed distribution methods) and direct courier (e.g., courier owned by actor executing action 2510). Action 2520 may be accomplished, for example, by providing the indication with the provided lens assembly. Action 2520 may be accomplished, for example, by posting the indication on a web site and/or through telephone and/or video communication with another party (which may or may not be the recipient of the lens assembly). Action 2520 may be accomplished, for example, by advertisement. The indication may be in the form of, for example, instructions for altering the second surface 2212, and/or in the form of a notice that the second surface 2212 may be altered. Any action that results in the action of the indication that the component can be permanently altered being executed can be executed to practice action 2520. It is noted that in executing action 2520, the actor executing action 2520 may or may not direct the indication to a specific party.

It is further noted that action 2520 may be practiced before and/or after and/or while action 2510 is executed.

Referring to FIG. 26, there is a method 2600 of providing an optical apparatus (e.g., resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′) that comprises action 2610 which entails obtaining a lens assembly. The lens assembly may be an embryonic optical apparatus 2200 as detailed above. In an exemplary embodiment, the obtained lens assembly includes a first lens component 2210 that includes a first surface 2214 and a second surface 2210 on an opposite side of the first lens component 2210 from the first surface 2214. In this exemplary embodiment, the provided lens assembly further includes a second lens component 2220 comprising a flexible element (e.g., the flexible membrane as detailed herein), at least a portion of the second lens component 2220 being adhered to the first surface 2214 of the first lens component. The flexible element of the second lens component 2220 comprises a first region 2222 that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface 2214 in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly 2200 with respect to a light path through the first region 2222 and the first surface 2214.

In an exemplary embodiment, the action of obtaining the lens assembly of action 2610 includes directly manufacturing the lens assembly and/or receiving the lens assembly via, for example, government mail, contract courier (e.g., FEDERAL EXPRESS™ and/or slower-speed distribution methods) etc.

Method 2600 further includes action 2620, which entails determining a desired optical power and/or add power of the optical apparatus (e.g. the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′). In an exemplary embodiment, action 2620 may be executed by evaluating a prescription and/or evaluating data based on a prescription for eye glasses. It is noted that action 2620 may be executed before and/or after and/or while action 2610 is executed. In an exemplary embodiment, the evaluated prescription for the wearer of glasses into which the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′ will be fitted is as follows: Right eye −2.00D−0.50D×180 with a +2.00 D optical power/add power required. Left eye −3.00D−0.75D ×175 with a +2.00D optical power/add power required. (It should be pointed out that any and all prescriptions are contemplated as being capable of being met by the methods and apparatuses disclosed herein and variations thereof.)

Method 2600 further includes action 2630, which entails, after executing action 2610, permanently altering a component of the lens assembly. In an exemplary embodiment, 2630 entails permanently altering the second surface 2212 of the first lens 2210 to permanently define an optical power/permanently define an optical power/add power of the first lens 2210 at least a second region 2216 of the second surface 2210, the second region 2216 being optically aligned with the first region 2222, to have a first optical power/add power that is less than the desired optical power/add power (e.g., that optical power/add power indicated by the prescription). After altering the second surface by executing action 2630 (i.e., as a result of executing action 2630), a cumulative optical power/add power vis-à-vis the light path 2300 of the first lens component 2210′ and the second lens component 2220 when the first region 2222 of the second lens component 2220 is moved away from the first surface to a first position, substantially equals the desired optical power/add power. Referring to the exemplary prescription detailed above, after executing action 2630 by executing a free forming method (or other method that will permit an embodiment to be executed), the dynamic fluid lens region 2222 (which may have a diameter of 10 mm, as will be described in greater detail below) contributes +1.00D of incremental add power after being ballooned to a given balloon geometry (e.g., after being fully ballooned to the maximum extent) or otherwise having its curvature being deformed or reshaped to a given geometry. In such an embodiment, the resulting second surface 2212′, which may be, in whole (e.g., region 2216 of FIG. 22C) or in part (e.g., region 2216 of FIG. 22D, located in the lower center of the resulting optical apparatus, such as by way of example and not by way of limitation is outlined in FIGS. 32 and 33), a progressive addition surface (e.g., a static progressive addition surface), also provides +1.00D of incremental add power. That is, the altered first lens component 2210′/the resulting static base lens 2210′, after executing action 2630 by, for example, free forming (or other method), provides an altered optical apparatus 22002200′ having the following optical power: If used as an optical apparatus for the right eye (e.g., placed in the right side of a pair of eyeglasses): −2.00D−0.50D×180 with +1.00D of progressive addition add power: if used as an optical apparatus for the left eye (e.g., placed in the left side of a pair of eyeglasses): −3.00D−0.75D×175 with +1.00D of progressive addition add power. The combination of the static base lens and that of the dynamic fluid lens thus provides for the total required +2.00D add power for the wearer.

In an exemplary embodiment of the method 2600, action 2610 may be substituted for one or more of the following actions and/or an embodiment includes one or more of the following actions without one or more of the actions of method 2600. (A) Obtaining a lens component, such as a semi-finished or unfinished lens blank as detailed herein without a flexible membrane attached thereto. (B) Optionally altering the lens component to a semi-finished condition. Attaching the flexible membrane to the lens component/the altered lens component. After action A and/or B, method action 2620 and/or 2630 are executed. As is seen, method action 2630 may be executed on a semi-finished or unfinished lens with a membrane attached thereto while action 2630 is executed.

In an exemplary embodiment, action 2630 may include permanently altering the second surface to permanently define an optical power, corresponding to a distance prescription of an eyeglass wearer and/or permanently altering the second surface to permanently define a positive optical power.

Having described an exemplary method of obtaining an optical apparatus that will be used in eye glasses of a user, the alignment of the optical power region 2222 with a fitting point of the obtained optical apparatus will now be described with reference to the 10 mm diameter dynamic optical power region 2222 detailed above. In an exemplary embodiment, referring to FIG. 27, which depicts the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′ of FIG. 24 when viewed from the front, the 10 mm diameter dynamic optical power region 2222 is located, in an exemplary embodiment, such that a geometric center 2720 (e.g., origin of radius in the case of a circular region 2222) is 12 mm below where a fitting point 2710 of the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′ (which is aligned with the center of the pupil of the wearer of eyeglasses into which the resulting optical apparatus 2200′ is to be fitted) will be located. That is, the upper peripheral edge of the 10 mm diameter dynamic optical power region 2222 is located 7 mm below the location where the fitting point will be located on the resulting optical apparatus 2200′. In certain other embodiments of the invention, the dynamic optical power region 2222 is decentered nasally for each eye of the wearer of the eye glasses into which the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′ will be fitted. Accordingly, method 2600 may entail the additional action/sub-action of determining where the fitting point is to be located on the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′ and identifying the corresponding location on the optical assembly 2200 relative to the dynamic optical power region 2222, or visa-versa.

In an exemplary embodiment, action 2630 entails permanently altering the second surface 2212 of the first lens 2210 to obtain a permanent progressive addition region 2216 (which, in an exemplary embodiment, is a low power progressive addition region 2216 in the form of a low power progressive addition surface 2212′, as will be described in greater detail below). It is noted that while the low power progressive additional region 2216 is depicted as spanning the entire diameter of the first lens component 2210, the low power progressive additional portion may only span a part of that diameter (such as is the case with the embodiments of FIGS. 29 and 30 detailed below). Action 2630 may be executed by free forming this progressive addition region (or other type of region) on the back side of the lens blank 2212 (which may be concave and/or semi-finished). Action 2630 may correspond to an of finishing the semi-finished lens blank into a finished lens (the resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200′). In an exemplary embodiment, the progressive addition region (which is depicted by way of example as region 2216 in FIG. 24, but again may span a smaller area) starts its gradual optical power ramp within 1 mm of the fitting point of the lens and continues so as the sweet spot of the progressive addition region is optically aligned with at least a portion of the dynamic optical power region 2222 (which may be the dynamic 10 mm dynamic optical power region detailed above). In an exemplary embodiment that entails free forming the back of the lens blank 2210, the optician may position the equipment to free form the lens blank 2210 to align the progressive addition surface 2212′ such that the appropriate sweet spot becomes optically aligned with at least a portion, if not all, of the dynamic optical power region 2222 (e.g., the unattached front transparent membrane portion of membrane 2220). By optically aligned, it is meant that the light will travel through both regions and become additive in optical power. By sweet spot, it is meant the spot that corresponds to the region of maximum optical power of a progressive addition region/surface.

As noted above, fluid may be moved into and out of space 2310 to vary the pressure on membrane 2220 to vary the geometry of membrane 2220 at region 2222 (e.g., to balloon membrane 2220). An exemplary embodiment of a fluidic system that may be used to vary the pressure on membrane 2220 will now be described in terms of an exemplary eyeglasses. It is noted that such exemplary fluidic systems may be utilized with other types of optical apparatuses as well.

In an exemplary embodiment, an indexed matched liquid is utilized as the fluid that is moved into and out of space 2310 to vary the pressure on membrane 2220. It is noted that in some embodiments, air or any gas can also be utilized which may or may not be index matched and in addition non-indexed matched liquids can also be used. Referring to FIGS. 28 and 29, which depict an exemplary eyeglasses 2800 when viewed from the side and front, respectively, the index matched liquid may be applied by way of a pump actuator 2820, which may be a micro pump actuator, that is located within or otherwise on the surface of an eyeglass frame 2810 of eyeglasses 2800 into which the optical apparatus 2200′ is fitted. In an alternate exemplary embodiment, the pump actuator may be located in or on the altered first lens component 2210′. The micro pump actuator 2820 is in fluid communication with space 2310. Such fluid communication may be achieved via fluid channel 2830, as will be described in greater detail below. It is noted that the aforementioned fitting into eyeglass frame 2810 to obtain eyeglasses 2800 may be an additional action of the method 2600 detailed above with respect to FIG. 26. By way of example, method 2600 may include an additional action 2640, which may be executed after action 2630, entailing fitting the permanently altered component of the obtained lens assembly into a eyeglass frame. It is noted that in some embodiments, the optical apparatus 2200′ fitted into the eyeglasses need not be obtained exactly according to the methods detailed herein. For example, such an optical apparatus 2200′ may be manufactured by first free forming the first lens component to have a finalized surface configuration, followed by attachment of the flexible membrane thereto. That is, some embodiments include an apparatuses and systems detailed herein and variations thereof manufactured or otherwise obtained in different ways than those detailed herein.

Referring back to the pump actuator 2820, the pump actuator 2820 can be located anywhere on the eyeglasses 2800 (or other assembly), such as on the frame 2810 at the temple portion of the frame 2810, the front, or bride of the frame 2810 of the eyeglasses, etc. In an exemplary embodiment, two pump actuators 2820 may be provided, one for each optical apparatus 2200′ used in the eyeglasses 2800. In an alternative embodiment, only one actuator that supplies fluid to both optical apparatuses 2200′ is utilized in the eyeglasses 2800. In an exemplary embodiment, the fluidic system in which the single actuator is included is configured to adjust the amount of fluid in each space 2310 of each optical apparatus 2200′ as appropriate to obtain the desired dynamic incremental add power. An exemplary control system will be detailed below. In addition to the actuator or actuators, one or more fluid reservoir(s) are located within/are part of the fluidic system of the eyeglasses 2800. In an exemplary embodiment, the fluidic system forms a closed delivery network. The phrase “closed delivery network” is meant to be a network of air tight tubes made of plastic, rubber, or that of the frame material itself (which may be metal) when hollow or when forming a cavity or tube capable of carrying the fluid such that the air or liquid therein will not leak out.

The pump actuator 2820 responds to and/or otherwise communicates with a sensor and controller assembly 2840. The sensor and controller assembly 2840 is configured to control the pump actuator 2820 to pump fluid into space 2310 and pump (including suck) fluid out of space 2310 (or, alternatively, permit fluid to flow out of space 2310 as a result of ambient pressure that tends to drive fluid out of space 2310/collapse space 2310, such as may be the case in an embodiment where the flexible membrane 2220 has memory that causes it to contract to conform to surface 2224) to vary the geometry of the membrane 2220 as desired (e.g., balloon the membrane 2220). FIG. 30 provides an exemplary functional diagram of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 and the micro pump actuator 2820. In an exemplary embodiment, the sensor 2842 of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 is one or more of a tilt switch and/or a micro-accelerometer, which senses the general orientation of the eyeglasses 2800. In an alternate embodiment, instead of or in addition to this, a range finder, micro-gyroscope, a mercury switch, an eye tracking device, or any other range sensor may be used to provide input to the controller of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 as to the general and/or specific orientation of the eyeglasses 2800. More specifically, any device, system or method that can be used to estimate or otherwise ascertain a desired use of the eyeglasses may be used as sensor 2842. In an exemplary embodiment, the controller 2844 of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 may be a microprocessor. As may be seen in FIG. 30, sensor 2842 is in signal communication with controller 2844. Also as may be seen in FIG. 30, pump actuator 2820 is in signal communication with controller 2844. In some embodiments, controller 2844 is a logic device that evaluates input from the sensor 2842 and controls the pump actuator 2820 by sending a control signal thereto, thereby, for example, controlling the ballooning of the membrane 2220, as will be detailed further by way of example below. It is noted that in some embodiments, the sensor and controller assembly 2840 may be substituted by a controller or a sensor and/or the sensor may be a separate unit from the controller. It is noted that the sensor 2842, the controller 2844 and/or the pump actuator 2820 may be a single unit.

In an exemplary embodiment, the fluidic system of the eyeglasses 2800 includes a small tube that extends from the pump actuator 2820 that is located around at least a portion of the edge of the altered first lens component 2210′ to a location about at the bottom edge of the altered first lens component 2210′. In an exemplary embodiment, referring to the right-eye optical apparatus 2200′ of FIG. 29, this tube corresponds to channel 2830 and extends about the edge of the first lens component 2210′ from about the 10 o'clock position to about the 6 o'clock position. At about the 6 o'clock position, the channel 2830 is fluidically coupled to channel 2850 which extends upward from the edge of the adjusted optical first lens component 2210′ to region 2222 of membrane 2220. In an exemplary embodiment, a coupling is located at the end of channel 2830/the beginning of channel 2850. In an embodiment in which the channel 2830 is formed by a tube, the tube may fit into channel 2850 in a male-female relationship, respectively. In an alternate embodiment, channel 2850 may fit into channel 2830 in a male-female relationship, respectively. In yet an alternate embodiment, a male or female adapter may be used to join channel 2850 with channel 2830 in a male-female-female-male or a female-male-male-female relationship. Any method, system and/or device that will permit channel 2830 to be placed into fluid communication with channel 2850 may be used in some embodiments.

In an exemplary embodiment, channel 2850 is formed between and by the surface 2214 of the altered first lens component 2210′ and surface 2224 of the flexible membrane 2220. Specifically, channel 2850 may correspond to a section of flexible membrane 2220 extending from an edge of the altered first lens component 2210′ to region 2222 that is not adhered to the surface 2214 that permits fluid to travel to and from channel 2830 through channel 2850 to and from space 2310 causing or otherwise permitting membrane to, for example, balloon at region 2222. In an exemplary embodiment, eyeglasses 2800 include a fill port that includes a portion of transparent membrane 2220 that is not attached to altered first lens component 2210′ that fluidically connects with the unattached 10 mm diameter region 2220 located on the front bottom surface of the lens In an exemplary embodiment, this fill port is a vertical 2 mm wide fill port which may be formed by a portion of transparent membrane 2220 that is not attached to altered first lens component 2210′ fluidically connects with the unattached 10 mm diameter region 2220 located on the front bottom surface of the lens.

The tube that is used to establish channel 2830 (and may, in an alternate exemplary embodiment, be used to establish channel 2850 instead of or in addition to that detailed above) may be located below the expandable region or off to the side. In some embodiments, the tube/channel 2830 extends about different locations than those detailed above. In an exemplary embodiment, with reference to the right-eye optical apparatus 2200′, instead of extending from the 10 o'clock position to the 6 o'clock position, the channel 2830, which may be established by a tube, extends from the 10 o'clock position to the 9 o'clock position, and channel 2850 extends horizontally (instead of vertically, in the case where the channel 2830 extends to the 6 o'clock position, as depicted in the figures). Indeed, in an exemplary embodiment, the channel 2830, which may be made of tube(s), extends beyond the 6 o'clock position to about the 2′ o'clock position, whereby it extends across the bridge to the left-eye optical apparatus 2200′, to extend from about the 2 o'clock position to the 6 o'clock position of the left-eye optical apparatus 2200′.

In an exemplary embodiment, the pump actuator 2820 and/or the sensor and controller assembly 2840 and/or the eyeglasses 2800 in general include(s) a sensor which may be in the form of a pressure resistance sensor or other type of pressure sensor that is used to sense the pressure of the fluid located in the space 2310 of the dynamic fluid lens region 2222 and/or the pressure of the fluid coming from and/or flowing to the space 2310 of the dynamic fluid lens region 2222. In an exemplary embodiment, based on a sensor reading, the controller of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 determines that enough fluid has been applied (e.g., pumped into or out of space 2310) to provide for the appropriate or otherwise desired optical power with the dynamic fluid lens, the pump actuator 2820 stops applying pressure/stops pumping fluid in or out of space 2310. In an exemplary embodiment, the sensor is used to periodically or continuously sense the pressure of the fluid in the fluidic system/in the space 2310. In an exemplary embodiment, the controller of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 is configured to recognize if the pressure of the fluid is reduced in any way or at least lower than a given boundary, and activate the pump actuator to apply additional pressure to the fluid, and thus to the flexible membrane 2222, and continue pumping until the required or otherwise desired pressure threshold of the fluid and/or on the membrane 2222 is reached which correlates with the desired optical power of the dynamic fluid lens. Alternatively, the pump actuator 2230 and/or the sensor and controller assembly 2840 may be programmed to drive a predetermined volume of fluid into the expandable portion of the membrane/the space 2310. The dynamic fluid lens can be configured to be tunable in optical power, or provide steps in optical power increase or decrease.

An exemplary scenario of using the sensor and controller assembly 2840 to control the dynamic fluid lens will now be described.

Upon the sensor and controller assembly 2840 sensing that the wearer of glasses 2800 is tilting his or her head in a manner indicative that the wearer of glasses 2800 is most likely to begin performing a near point vision task, such as, by way of example only, reading or viewing a near point target within the range of 12 inches to 18 inches of the glasses 2800 (e.g., the sensor portion delivers a communication signal to the controller indicating that such tilting has been detected and/or a signal is outputted by the sensor portion which is read by the controller portion and identified as containing parameters that are indicative of such tilting), the controller portion of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 directs or otherwise controls the actuator pump 2820 to pump the appropriate amount of fluid into the space 2310 (e.g. the 10 mm diameter unattached region (the dynamic optical lens)) thus causing the region to become deformed or altered in curvature (e.g., ballooned) and thereby causing the dynamic fluid lens to provide optical power. This region may balloon in such a manner to alter the shape of at least the surface of the membrane 2220, thus applying the appropriate additive optical power. Upon sensing that the wearer of glasses 2800 has tilted his or her head in a manner indicative that he or she is most likely to begin performing a far point vision task, or otherwise sensing that the wearer is not reading or performing a near point vision task, (e.g., the sensor portion delivers a communication signal to the controller indicating that such tilting has been detected and/or a signal is outputted by the sensor portion which is read by the controller portion and identified as containing parameters that are indicative of such tilting), the controller portion of the sensor and controller assembly 2840 directs or otherwise controls the actuator pump 2820 to reduce the pressure in space 2310 (which may be accomplished by, for example, turning off the actuator 2820, thereby relieving the pressure) such that the flexible membrane 2220 is ballooned back to substantially conform with surface 2214 of the altered first lens component 2210′, resulting in the reduction/elimination of the dynamic optical power (e.g., the dynamic optical power of the eyeglasses 2800 disappears). In the exemplary embodiment where the pump actuator is only activated to increase the fluid pressure/the pressure on the membrane 2220 to balloon the membrane 2220 outward or otherwise maintain pressure on the membrane 2220 to maintain the membrane 2220 ballooned outward, power for the pump actuator 2820, such as power from a battery, is required only when the wearer is performing a near point vision task. In an exemplary embodiment utilizing batteries to power the pump actuator 2820, rechargeable batteries which may be located within a sealed electronic module located within the frame of the eyeglasses 2800 (e.g. the temple location of the frame). In an exemplary embodiment, the battery can be located near the front of the temple location of the frame, along the middle of the temple location of the frame, or at the back ear piece of the temple location of the frame. In some embodiments, the battery may be located at any portion of the frame that will permit embodiments to be practiced.

FIG. 31 provides an exemplary algorithm 3100 that may be used by controller 2844 to automatically vary the add power provided by the dynamic fluid lens. Initially, at step 3110, the controller receives a signal or other type of indication indicative of a desired use of the eyeglasses, thereby ascertaining a use of the eyeglasses. For example, the controller may receive a signal from sensor 2822 indicative of a tilt condition indicative that the wearer will perform a near point vision task. The controller proceeds to step 3120, which entails outputting a signal to pump actuator 2820 to cause the pump actuator 2820 to, for example, balloon the flexible membrane to an expanded state (a first configuration) to increase the add power of the eyeglasses. The controller then proceeds to step 3130, where the controller 2844 determines whether the determined use of the eyeglasses has changed from that determined in step 3110. If no determination is made that the determined use has changed, the controller proceeds back to repeat step 3130. If a determination is made that the use has changed (which includes determining a new use such as far point vision task), the controller proceeds to step 3140, where the flexible membrane is ballooned to a relaxed state or an intermediate state (a second configuration). Upon the completion of step 3140, the algorithm returns to step 3110. It is noted that alternate algorithms may be used by controller 2844. Any algorithm or control device, system or method may be used in some embodiments. In some embodiments, the controller is a binary controller. The controller outputs a signal to pump actuator 2820 upon receipt of a signal from sensor 2842 when, for example, sensor 2842 senses a tilt condition, and the pump actuator 2820 pumps fluid into space 2310 to expand the flexible membrane. Upon cessation of receipt of the signal, controller 2842 ceases output to the pump actuator, and thus the pump actuator stops pumping fluid into space 2310 or otherwise stops maintaining the pressure of the fluid in space 2310.

The sealed electronic module may also house sensor portion, the controller portion and/or the sensor and controller assembly 2840, and may house all manual or automatic controls that may be used to control the dynamic fluid lens. In this regard, in an embodiment, the eyeglasses 2800 are configured such that a wearer may place the eyeglasses 2800 into an automatic mode, manual on mode, or a manual off mode. In a manual mode, the wearer can manually adjust the add power of the dynamic fluid lens. Such may be accomplished by depressing a button or a switch on the glasses 2800 for a given period of time until the desired add power is achieved. A subsequent depression of the button or switch results in the add power being completely reduced, although in other embodiments, the user may subsequently depress the button or switch to reduce the add power until the desired add power is achieved. In an exemplary embodiment, one electronic module can be provided to electrically power or otherwise control both optical apparatuses 2200′, while in an alternate embodiment, two such electronic modules can be provided to control both optical apparatuses 2200′. These electronic modules may be sealed such that they are water resistant or waterproof.

An embodiment provides for a very small diameter dynamic fluid lens being of a small add power (being less than +2.00D) and located in such a manner that the wearer can use the top non-dynamic (static) portion of the lens for distance vision correction, the static progressive addition portion for intermediate vision correction, and only use the near reading region of the final lens (which includes the sweet spot of the progressive addition region and also the dynamic fluid lens region) when performing near point tasks. This allows for a lens to provide a fail-safe lens such that if the optical power failed or the actuator failed the lens would still provide the wearer with uncompromised distance vision correction. FIG. 32 provides an exemplary embodiment of such an optical apparatus 3200 when viewed from the front. In this embodiment, progressive region 3210 is a static progressive region shaped as shown located on the back of the optical apparatus 3200. Add power region 3220 is a dynamic add power region which is a region that balloons as detailed by way of example herein. Also, FIG. 32 details that in an embodiment of the present invention, the optical apparatus 3200 may be an embryonic optical apparatus that may be subjected to edging or otherwise may have portions/sections cut off or otherwise removed, such as the portions above and to the right of the cut out region, to obtain a lens assembly according to FIG. 33. Specifically, FIG. 33 provides an exemplary lens assembly 3300 which may correspond to the lens assembly provided in method 2500 or obtained in method 2600 detailed above with the additional action that the edges of the lens assembly may be ground and/or sections of the lens assembly may be removed. As may be seen, the lens assembly 3300 includes an optical apparatus 2200″ as detailed above to which a tube is connected to the fluid channel of the embryonic optical apparatus 2200. It is noted that in other embodiments, the lens assembly 3300 may not include the tube when the lens assembly is provided in method 2500 or obtained in method 2600. In such methods, the tube might be provided or obtained in other ways. In some such embodiments, a tube is not obtained. Instead, a channel located in the frame into which the optical assembly is to be placed (e.g., frames of eyeglasses), and the fluid channel of lens assembly 3300 is connected to that channel in the frame. Accordingly, in an exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus 3300 that includes a channel 2830 and/or 2850 in fluid communication with a first space 2310 located between a first region 2222 of flexible membrane 2220 that is variable moveable and the first surface 2214 of lens component 2210, wherein the channel 2830 and/or 2850 is configured to permit movement of fluid through the channel 2830 and/or 2850, the fluid generating pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222 to deform that portion of the flexible membrane 2220. In an exemplary embodiment, this channel may include or otherwise correspond to a tube.

Still with reference to FIGS. 32 and 33, in an exemplary embodiment, there is a method of providing an optical apparatus (e.g., resulting prescription-quality optical apparatus 2200″) that comprises the action of obtaining a lens assembly. The lens assembly may be an embryonic optical apparatus 2200 as detailed above. In an exemplary embodiment, the obtained lens assembly includes a first lens component 2210 that includes a first surface 2214 and a second surface 2210 on an opposite side of the first lens component 2210 from the first surface 2214. In this exemplary embodiment, the provided lens assembly further includes a second lens component 2220 comprising a flexible element (e.g., the flexible membrane as detailed herein), at least a portion of the second lens component 2220 being adhered to the first surface 2214 of the first lens component. The flexible element of the second lens component 2220 comprises a first region 2222 that is variably movable towards and away from the first surface 2214 in response to a change of pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222, thereby dynamically adjusting an optical power of the lens assembly 2200 with respect to a light path through the first region 2222 and the first surface 2214.

In an exemplary embodiment, the action of obtaining the lens assembly of action 2610 includes directly manufacturing the lens assembly and/or receiving the lens assembly via, for example, government mail, contract courier (e.g., FEDERAL EXPRESS™ and/or slower-speed distribution methods) etc.

This method further includes an action which entails permanently altering a component of the lens assembly. In an exemplary embodiment, this action entails permanently altering the first lens 2210 to permanently reshape the outer contour of the first lens component 2210 to obtain a frame contour in the resulting first lens component and, optionally, the second lens component. As is seen, this action may be executed on a semi-finished or unfinished lens with a membrane attached thereto. Any device, system or method of removing material of the first lens 2210 and/or the second lens 2220 may be used to permanently alter an optical apparatus 3200 to obtain an optical apparatus 3300 and variations thereof.

In a further exemplary embodiment, the channel 2830 and/or 2850 is configured such that movement of a fluid through the channel into the first space 2310 increases pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222 of the flexible membrane 2220 to move the first region 2222 away from the first surface 2214 of the lens component 2210. Further, the channel 2830 and/or 2850 is configured such that movement of the fluid through the channel out of the first space 2222 decreases pressure applied to at least a portion of the first region 2222 to move the first region 2222 towards the first surface 2214.

It is noted that in some embodiments, providing lens assembly 3300 according to method 2500 includes plugging or otherwise sealing the opening of the tube and/or fluid channel of lens assembly 3300 and/or providing a lens assembly according to lens assembly 3300 in which a plug or seal is provided to plug or seal the opening of the tube and/or fluid channel. This provides a barrier to the intrusion of unwanted material that might result from, for example, the permanent alteration actions that are applied to the lens assembly 3300 as detailed above. Still further, in an exemplary embodiment, obtaining lens assembly 3300 according to method 2600 includes obtaining a lens assembly according to lens assembly 3300 in which a plug or seal is provided to plug or seal the opening of the tube and/or fluid channel. Alternatively, method 2600 may include the action of plugging or otherwise sealing the opening of the tube and/or fluid channel of lens assembly 3300. This provides a barrier to the intrusion of unwanted material that might result from, for example, the permanent alteration actions that are applied to the lens assembly 3300 as detailed above

In an exemplary embodiment, the resulting optical apparatus obtained from altering the embryonic lens apparatus detailed herein and variations thereof and/or executing methods 2500 and/or 2600 and variations thereof results in a resulting optical apparatus having cosmetic perfection (or at least cosmetic acceptability), continuous vision correction without a line, the ability to see from far to near, and near to far without interruption. The cost of such a lens is very reasonable. In an exemplary embodiment, the very limited fluid that is required to alter such a very small area or region of the dynamic lens permits the pump actuator to be very small and cosmetically hidden within the frame of eyeglasses.

In an exemplary embodiment, the progressive addition lens surface is found on the concave side of the lens component that is located closest to the wearer's face and is produced by free forming the concave surface of the lens component (e.g., semi-finished lens blank) when being processed by the optical laboratory (e.g., such as occurs in method 2600). In contrast, in an exemplary embodiment, there is an embryonic optical apparatus that comprises a semi-finished lens blank that has a front convex surface that comprises a low power progressive addition surface and the transparent covering material membrane is located on top of this front convex surface. That is, the flexible membrane is located on top of the low power progressive addition surface. Such an embryonic optical apparatus may correspond to the lens assembly provided according to method 2500 and variations thereof and/or may correspond to the lens assembly obtained according to method 2600 and variations thereof. In such an embodiment, the back concave surface of the semi-finished lens blank may be free formed, surfaced, polished and/or ground and or combinations thereof into the final required prescription or non-prescription lens. In such an exemplary embodiment, the unattached region of the flexible membrane (i.e., the portion that balloons or otherwise deforms) is that of an oval that is 12 mm high (vertical) and 20 mm (horizontal).

In another exemplary embodiment, the transparent covering membrane/flexible membrane is a material that permits it to be adhered or otherwise affixed to the front convex surface of the semi-finished lens blank of the embryonic optical apparatus and, in this embodiment is oval shaped having a vertical diameter of 18 mm and a horizontal diameter of 14 mm. In this embodiment the unattached region of the flexible membrane overlaps and is mostly parallel to the fluid channel of the static low power progressive addition lens base.

In an exemplary embodiment, the diameter of the dynamic fluid lens is matched so as to align itself with one of the contours of the progressive addition region such that the dynamic lens provides the optical power within this particular contour region of the progressive addition lens.

It should be pointed out that the disclosure provided herein is not intended to be limiting. Any diameter, shape, lens blank, or unattached flexible membrane region can be provided to accomplish the optical feature or optical power required. Any optical power of the fluid lens or that of the static base lens can be provided and is contemplated to achieve the desired total additive optical power needs of the wearer, any and all materials, fluids, gases, liquids that are contemplated. In some embodiments, semi-finished lens blanks, finished lens blanks, finished lenses and any and all frame styles or materials may be utilized if such permits embodiments to be practice, including, by way of example only and not by way of limitation, rimless, semi-rimless, metal, wire, tube like frames and plastic frames.

Further, some embodiments include a lens component that includes a front convex surface prior to covering with a transparent membrane that is a photochromatic surface or base material that may or may not be that of Transitions (PPG's photochromatic surface). In an exemplary embodiment, when a photochromatic surface or base material is used, the transparent membrane covering it and/or any adhesive used to adhere the membrane to the surface preferably does not inhibit (or inhibits as little as possible) ultra violet light from passing through such a covering, as UV light is needed to alter the tint of the photochromatic material.

Further, in an exemplary embodiment, there is a lens component that is capable of being edged into any shape and capable of being treated with all lens coatings such as by way of example only, AR (anti-reflective) coatings, hard scratch resistant coatings, tinted coatings, anti-smudge coatings, hydrophobic coatings, teflon coatings etc.

The drawings provided herein show some exemplary designs of lenses/optical apparatuses.

In an exemplary embodiment, ballooning of the transparent membrane may be obtained by heating an amount of liquid in the fluidic system of the eyeglasses. Specifically, an amount of liquid can be heated to expand the volume of the liquid. This expansion of the liquid can expand the portion of the lens component that is flexible or expandable or capable of being ballooned. As this portion of the lens changes shape, additional add power can be provided by this portion of the lens. That is, the expandable portion of the lens can have a first radius of curvature in an unexpanded state (e.g., it can provide no additional add power) and can have a second radius of curvature in an expanded state (e.g., it can provided an additional add power). The liquid can be heated by electrical energy supplied by the lens component. The electrical energy can be converted to heat near a reservoir that contains the liquid. The heat can cause the liquid to be heated and to thereby expand in volume. As an example, an ITO layer within a lens component may be used to supply electrical energy to the lens component which can be converted to heat at a desired location of the lens component. The electrical energy can be converted to heat, for example, by using a resistive load, e.g., a coil.

It is noted at this time that in some embodiments, any embryonic optical apparatus as detailed herein may include some or all of the components and/or features of any optical apparatuses detailed herein, and any method that may be used to obtain an optical apparatus from an embryonic optical apparatus may result in an optical apparatus including some or all of the components and/or features of any optical apparatus as detailed herein.

An exemplary embodiment includes, referring to FIGS. 24, 28 and 29 and 34, an optical apparatus 2200′ (which may correspond to any optical apparatus detailed herein, such as, for example, that of reference number 100, 200, 1200, 300, etc., and variations thereof), comprising a low add power progressive addition lens 2210′ including a first radius of curvature R1 providing a progressive addition power to a maximum first add power; and a membrane 2220 located on a first surface of the low add power progressive addition lens 2210 including an expandable portion 2222 expandable from a first state in which the expandable portion 222 has a second radius of curvature to a second state in which the expandable portion has a third radius of curvature R3, a fluidic system including channels 2830 and 2850 configured to expand the expandable portion 2222 from the first state to the second state and contract the expandable portion from the second state to the first state. The second radius of curvature substantially corresponds to the first radius of curvature R1 such that a maximum cumulative add power of the expandable portion and the low add power progressive addition lens equals about the first add power when the expandable portion is in the first state and the third radius of curvature R3 is different from the first radius of curvature R1 such that the maximum cumulative add power of the expandable portion and the low add power progressive addition lens equals the first add power plus a second add power when the expandable portion is in the second state.

In an exemplary embodiment, the optical apparatus 2200′ includes a fluidic system that is configured to permit movement of a fluid into and out of a space 2310 formed between the low add power progressive addition lens 2210′ and the expandable portion 2222 to respectively expand the expandable portion 2222 from the first state (as may be seen, for example, in FIG. 24 or FIG. 28), to the second state (as may be seen, for example, in FIG. 34) and contract the expandable portion from the second state to the first state. In an exemplary embodiment, the optical apparatus 2200′ includes a fluidic system that comprises a fluid channel 2850 that extends from at least an edge of the low add power progressive addition lens 2210′ to the expandable portion 2222. In an exemplary embodiment, the fluid channel is defined by the first surface 2214 of the low add power progressive addition lens and the membrane 2220. In an exemplary embodiment, the fluidic system is configured to heat the fluid, thereby expanding the fluid and thus expanding the expandable portion 2222 from the first state to the second state, and the fluidic system is configured to cool the fluid (which includes permitting the fluid to cool on its own), thereby contracting the fluid and thus contracting the expandable portion 2222 from the second state to the first state.

In an exemplary embodiment, there are 2800 comprising optical apparatus 2200′ and an eyeglass frame 2810. In an exemplary embodiment, the eyeglasses 2800 include a controller 2840, wherein the control is configured to automatically control the fluidic system, thereby controlling the expansion and contraction of the expandable portion 2222. In an exemplary embodiment, the eyeglasses further comprise a micro pump actuator 2820 configured to pump fluid into a space 2310 located between the low add power progressive addition lens 2810′ and the membrane 2220 to expand the expandable portion 2222 of the membrane 2220.

In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens blank, comprising a static base portion, and a region of a surface capable of being ballooned to produce dynamic optical power, whereby the static base portion is capable of being altered in such a way such to produce a region of static incremental add power, whereby the surface capable of being ballooned provides a second incremental add power that is dynamic, whereby the total combined optical power when in optical communication meets the required optical power needs of a wearer. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens blank as detailed above and/or below, wherein said optical power is generated by a fluid lens. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens blank as detailed above and/or below, wherein said alteration is provided by one of free forming or surfacing and polishing. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens blank as detailed above and/or below, wherein said semi-finished lens blank is free formed into a finished lens. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a finished lens detailed above and/or below, wherein said lens comprises a low power progressive addition lens surface. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a finished lens as detailed above and/or below, wherein said lens is photochromatic. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens as detailed above and/or below, wherein said semi-finished lens blank is photochromatic. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens blank as detailed above and/or below, wherein said semi-finished lens blank comprises a low power progressive addition lens surface. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a finished lens blank as detailed above and/or below, wherein the finished lens has been edged into the shape of the eyeglass frame. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an eyeglass frame detailed above and/or below, wherein the eyeglass frame comprises an actuator. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a an eyeglass frame as detailed above and/or below, wherein the eyeglass frame comprises a closed delivery network. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an eyeglass frame as detailed above and/or below, wherein the eyeglass frame comprises a tilt switch. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an eyeglass frame as detailed above and/or below, wherein the eyeglass frame comprises an accelerometer. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an eyeglass frame as detailed above and/or below, wherein the eyeglass frame houses electronics. In an exemplary embodiment, there is an eyeglass frame comprising a close delivery network, wherein the close delivery network includes that of a fluid reservoir. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a semi-finished lens blank as detailed above and/or below, wherein the fluid lens can be that of a liquid or gas.

In an exemplary embodiment, there is a lens, comprising a base portion having a first radius of curvature, an expandable portion, wherein in a first state the expandable portion has a second radius of curvature and wherein in a second state the expandable portion has a third radius of curvature, a liquid stored within the expandable portion, wherein the second radius of curvature is substantially equal to or conformal to the first radius of curvature such that the expandable portion provides no additional add power when in the first state, wherein the third radius of curvature is different from the first radius of curvature such that the expandable portion provides an additional add power when in the second state, and wherein the expandable portion transitions from the first state to the second state when the liquid is heated.

The above description is illustrative and is not restrictive. Many variations of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the disclosure. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined not with reference to the above description, but instead should be determined with reference to the pending claims along with their full scope or equivalents.

One or more features from any embodiment can be combined with one or more features of any other embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention.

A recitation of “a”, “an” or “the” is intended to mean “one or more” unless specifically indicated to the contrary