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Dale BuralliMay 10, 20225 min read

Medical Applications Of Optical Components

The optical components and technology produced by a medical optics manufacturer have many applications in the medical industry. The human body is a marvelously complex entity, and ensuring we can properly heal and maintain it is essential to the advancement of our society.

As a medical optics manufacturer, it’s an honor for Apollo Optical Systems to meet the demand for medical instruments. Creating a customized optical product for surgical instruments and other medical devices comes out of our facilities. But how do professionals use medical devices with our optical components?

Let’s take a look at the various medical applications.

Optical Components For Ophthalmology

Due to the fragility of the eyeball, ophthalmologists have to work with delicate precision. This requires specific tools with capabilities to match.

Lasers, for example, have entirely shifted the scope of ophthalmic surgery. Using lasers reduces the potential for damaged eye tissue for cataract procedures. Due to its precision, it can also reduce recovery time.

In the design and manufacturing of medical optics, there must be constant innovation and development to improve optical instruments, imaging, illumination, and function. This relies heavily on high-quality optical components such as mirrors, light sources, prisms, lenses, and detectors.

Adaptive Optics

Over the last twenty years, astronomers have used Adaptive Optics (AO) has been detect anomalies in the atmosphere as a light source travels through. This enables them to sharpen an image by using a laser to mimic the effects of light from a star when viewing a faraway space. Today, these are some of the same precision optics techniques used to create optical components for ophthalmology.[1]

Optical Components For Endoscopes

Endoscopy is the revolutionary method science and medicine can come together to actively look inside the human body via a non-surgical procedure. Gaining access directly to the organs themselves allows physicians to provide more accurate diagnoses.

This application has motivated researchers and optical manufacturers to design endoscope components that get increasingly smaller. Using optical engineering, previously inaccessible organs, such as luminal organs, can now be viewed in real-time and at a high resolution without a surgical procedure.

In contrast, an X-ray is completely non-invasive, but the large-scale scan has a limited resolution. This hides the finer structure details of the organ, ultimately providing an incomplete overall assessment of its condition.

How well an endoscopic device performs will depend on its use and the type and quality of the optical components it’s made with. Flexible endoscopes of early designs were manufactured using coherent optical fiber bundles (CFBs) that relied on several optical fibers to deliver the light source to the target.

Today, most endoscope devices use an oxide semiconductor chip at the tip due to the low fabrication cost and potential for miniaturization. Any limited resolution can usually be improved using laser light scanning at the fiber’s close end.[2]

Optical Components For Illumination

Optical techniques of light and illumination have had a significant impact on the medical industry. High-performance LEDs, lasers, scattered light imaging, and other light-applied technologies use optical devices every day to assess a patient’s state of health and treat specific diagnoses.

Light scattering causes electronic or vibrational energy, which can be re-emitted through illumination or fluorescence and aid in optical diagnostics and imaging. Optical therapy, phototherapy, interstitial illumination, and laser surgery are examples of controlled uses.[3]

Optical Components For Analytical Instrumentation

A light that’s absorbed or emitted is associated with changes in the state of whatever it interacts with. Using a spectrometer, atomic spectroscopy is the measurement and interpretation of the electromagnetic radiation found therein. This analytical measurement method finds applications in geology, biology, environmental research, and even nuclear science.[4]

There are numerous spectrometer designs in existence and common spectroscopic techniques, such as Raman spectroscopy, require a source of light. How this light behaves is what provides the baseline for data collection.

Optical Components For Head-Mounted Optics

Head-Mounted Displays (or HMDs) are increasingly more prevalent in today’s world. They have numerous applications in the entertainment, medical, and military industries.

Head-mounted displays can either be immersive or transparent. Transparent HMDs overlay a virtual image over a real-life image, whereas an immersive HMD will completely block the view and scenery of the wearer.[5]

These optical tools assist surgeons and physicians by supporting and enhancing their view of the surgical site. The early iterations had poor resolution and were too large to be truly practical. With the advancements of medical optics manufacturers and access to more high-resolution imaging, the medical field has benefited greatly.[6]

Optical Components For Cameras and Sensors

The use of cameras that use optical components in detection techniques is fairly common. Display technologies, imaging, scanning, and solid-state LED optical lasers are common tools in the medical field.

Sensor applications include PPG (Photoplethysmography), radiation, and biochemical sensors. They offer a non-invasive examination, are inexpensive to acquire, and are resistant to water and corrosion.

Apollo Optical Systems, Premier Medical Optics Manufacturer

The development and deployment of optical components are likely to become increasingly essential with a more health management-focused approach to medicine. At AOS, we specialize in Single Point Diamond Turning (SPDT) and injection molding, and our internal capabilities include optical and mechanical design and engineering, assembly, and testing.

Our team has vast experience in the lens design and manufacturing of diffractive and refractive optics. As a leading medical optics manufacturer, we are excited to play an increasingly important role in developing and advancing medical diagnostic devices and life-saving equipment.











About Dale Buralli

Dr. Dale Buralli has served as the Chief Scientist for Apollo Optical Systems since 2003. In this role, Dr. Buralli is responsible for the design and optical modeling of various optical systems. These systems include virtual or augmented reality, ophthalmic and other imaging or illumination systems. Additionally, he provides support for optical tooling of lens molds and prototypes, including the development of custom software for both production and metrology. Dr. Buralli got his Ph.D. in optics from the University of Rochester in 1991. Now he is an Adjunct Professor of Optics at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics.