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Power of visual field expander Woo, Ing and Lee

OPTOMETRY
ORIGINAL PAPER

Determining the power of a negative


lens field expander
George C Woo* OD PhD
Brian Ing OD
Man-ho Lee* BSc (Hons)
* Department of Optometry and
Radiography, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Barrie Ontario
Accepted for publication: 12 February 2001

In 1984, Kozlowski, Mainster and Avila derived a formula for the power of the lens
needed in the negative lens field expander. Their method is based on the principle of
telescopic magnification. In this technical note, we use the principle of spectacle
magnification and obtain the power of the same lens. Both methods are presented for
comparison. Practitioners may choose either method in determining the power of the
negative lens field expander for their low vision patients, but the spectacle magnification
method has the advantages of simplicity and familiarity to ophthalmic practitioners.
(Clin Exp Optom 2001; 84: 3: 162164)

Key words: lens power determination, visual field expander

To enable low vision patients with peripheral field loss to improve mobility and
general orientation in unknown surroundings, a simple, inexpensive field
expansion device is usually used. The device is a hand-held negative-power, largediameter lens placed at a fixed distance
in front of the eye. It is analogous to a
reverse Galilean telescope, where the
hand-held negative lens represents the
objective and the accommodation of the
patient represents its ocular (eyepiece).
When a reverse Galilean telescope is used
as a field expander in the conventional
way, there is usually a lack of correlation
between the size of the patients residual
visual field and the field of view obtained
by the device. Based on the principle
of magnification of the telescope,
Kozlowski, Mainster and Avila1 derived a
few simple formulae, taking the visual
field factor into consideration. In this
technical note, an alternate method to
obtain the same entity is presented. The
principle of spectacle magnification is

used in the derivation, treating the field


expander as a simple spectacle lens.
Before prescribing the negative lens,
the maximum distance at which a lens of
a given diameter (d ) is held from the
reduced eyes nodal point is calculated in
order to obtain the largest possible field
of view without excessive loss of visual
acuity. If the lens were moved too far from
or too close to the eye, it would subtend
too small or too large an angle. In the case
where a small angle is subtended, the peripheral visual field would not be used and
there would be excessive loss of visual
acuity. For the large angle subtended, the
periphery of the lens would be projected
onto the scotomatous area and the lenss
larger diameter would not be fully used.
Kozlowski, Mainster and Avila 1 used
Equation 1 below to obtain the desired
distance (t).
The maximum distance (t) at which a
lens of a given diameter (d) is held from
the reduced eyes nodal point (N ) is calculated, as shown in Figure 1.
Clinical and Experimental Optometry 84.3 May 2001

162

By trigonometry,
t=

d
2tan

(1)

Where d is the diameter of the lens in metres, t is the distance of the lens from the
nodal point (N) of the eye and is the
half angle of the patients remaining visual
field.
When is a small angle in radian, tan
t= d
2
When is in degrees,
t=

d
2( /180 )

28.6d

30d

(2)

Kozlowski, Mainster and Avila1 used the


principle of telescopic magnification and
noted that the angular magnification
depends on the equivalent power of the
eyepiece and the objective lens:

Power of visual field expander Woo, Ing and Lee

Fe
Fo
Where M is the magnification, F e the
equivalent powers of the eyepiece and Fo
the power of the objective lens.
The field expander is treated as a
reverse Galilean telescopic system. The
negative lens represents the objective (Fo )
and the positive Fresnel lens attached to
the patients standard spectacle correction
and/or the patients accommodation
(Acc) represents the eyelens (Fe ).The magnification (M) of the system is:
M= -

M= -

Acc
Fe
=Fo
Fo

Figure 1. A lens of given diameter (d) at a distance (t) subtends an


at the reduced eyes nodal point (N )
angle 2

(3)

(in the case of no spectacle correction worn).


In order to obtain a clear view for distance,
when the lens is held in front of the eye,
as shown in Figure 2, accommodation
(Acc) required of the patient is equal to
the reciprocal of distance (t) minus focal
length (1/[t-f ]), where the focal length (f )
of the negative lens is negative.
Acc =

(4)

t-(1/Fo )

where f = 1/Fo

Figure 2. Accommodation for distance viewing for the field


expander user

By substituting Acc from Equation 4 into


the Equation 3, the formula for the power
of the lens to be used (Fo ) is determined.
M=

1
1-tF0

By rearrangement,
F0 =

M-1
Mt
1-M in
t

where Min = 1/M = field expansion factor

Figure 3. Spectacle magnification in distance vision

An alternative method of deriving the


formula is presented below. The principle of spectacle magnification (SM) is
used in the derivation. The field expander
device is treated as a simple spectacle lens
instead of a reverse Galilean telescope system. The distance (te ) is treated as vertex
distance of the negative lens from the
entrance pupil (E ) of the eye which is
close to the eyes nodal point.
Clinical and Experimental Optometry 84.3 May 2001

163

Power of visual field expander Woo, Ing and Lee

The equation of SM is derived as shown


in Figure 3, where P1 , P2 are the first and
second principal planes of the negative
lens respectively, h' is the height of the
image formed, te is the distance of the lens
from the entrance pupil of the eye, t is
the distance of the lens from the nodal
point of the eye, f is the equivalent focal
length of the lens, 1 is the angle subtended by the image at the centre E of
the entrance pupil, 2 is the angle subtended by distant object at P2.
tan 1 =

h'
te - f

tan 2 =

h'
-f

SM =
SM =

tan 1
h'/(te - f)
=
tan 2
h'/ f
1
1 - te Fo

M=

tan 10
10

tan 30
30

= 0.333
Practically, the value is approximately
equal to the ratio of the original field to
the expanded field.
The maximum eye lens distance (t ) is
calculated from Equation (2).
t=

30d

(30)(0.035)

=
5
= 0.21 m
By the equation derived from telescopic
magnification,
Fo =

M-1
Mt

0.333 -1
(0.333)(0.21)

- 0.667
0.07

By rearrangement,
1
= 1 - te Fo
SM
Min = 1 - te Fo
Fo =

1-Min
te

where Min = 1/SM = 1//M = field expansion


factor
=
Since te t,

M-1
Mte

M-1
M-1

Mte
Mt
=

1 - Min
t

This equation is simply a rearrangement


of the spectacle magnification equation.
To illustrate the application of the two
methods, the following example is given.
A young emmetrope suffered from
retinitis pigmentosa. His visual field was
only 10 degrees in diameter and it was
found that a minimum field of view of 30
degrees was needed for mobility. A negative lens 35 mm in diameter is used in this
case. The magnification M of the system is

= -9.53 D
By the equation derived from spectacle
magnification,
SM =

1
1 - t Fo

By rearrangement,
Fo =

(1-Min )
t

where Min = 1/0.333 = 3


=

1-3
0.21

= -9.53 D
Thus the equation for spectacle magnification can also be used to obtain the
power of the lens. Spectacle magnification
is based on angular magnification. It is
simple and is familiar to ophthalmic
practitioners.

Clinical and Experimental Optometry 84.3 May 2001

164

REFERENCE
1. Kozlowski JM, Mainster MA, Avila MP.
Negativelens field expander. Arch
Ophthalmol 1984; 102: 1182-1184.

Authors address:
Professor George Woo
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Hong Kong SAR
CHINA