Dr. Richard A. Griffin, OD
Dr. Richard A. Griffin, OD, of Pearle Vision at Oaks Mall, has had an interesting career. After graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Aerospace Sciences and Engineering, he enjoyed 15 years as an aerospace and aerodynamics design engineer—including work on the F-15 and the Space Shuttle.
“I primarily designed wings and airfoils, using mathematics to predict how air will behave around a wing or blade on an aircraft,” says Dr. Griffin.
After achieving a reputation for excellence in that field, he wanted to apply his design knowledge in a more meaningful way. Dr. Griffin had the vision to see similarities in the movement of air and light and realized that by shaping light could help people see better. He earned a Doctor of Optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry and went on to build a successful eye care practice.
While building his practice, Dr. Griffin found that contact lenses were in high demand, but he often encountered a problem that couldn’t be solved with contact lenses. “Around age 40, everyone eventually experiences it,” he says. “That common condition called presbyopia—when it’s time for reading glasses.” Dr. Griffin says that patients would reluctantly wear reading glasses, but what they really wanted was to keep wearing contact lenses.
“Contact lenses were an option for people with presbyopia,” says Dr. Griffin. “But they didn’t work well enough. They might provide good vision for reading, but distance vision suffered and patients weren’t happy.”
Knowing that both light rays and air act in similar ways and that both can be analyzed mathematically, Dr. Griffin was determined to find a way to channel light with contact lenses in a way that would better enhance vision for patients over age 40. “All my years of experience in design fueled my vision for a new kind of contact lens,” he says.
The result of his efforts and expertise is a new product called NaturalVue™ Multifocal 1 Day contact lenses. Not only do these contact lenses channel light in a novel way, they take a more complete view of how vision works. “The eye is just an extension of the brain,” says Dr. Griffin. “All the work of seeing is actually done by the brain. The eyes are merely the entry portal.”
Recognizing that the brain enhances or suppresses certain stimuli it receives, Dr. Griffin created Neurofocus Optics™, the lens design technology that enables patients to enjoy greater depth of focus. “It gives wearers the wide range of powers they need to see from up close to far away,” says Dr. Griffin. “It's a more natural kind of vision, with seamless transitions as their vision moves from distance to distance.”
The results so far are impressive. New pre-market data shows patients prefer the lens nearly 4 to 1 over their ordinary contact lenses for presbyopia1—with superior vision for everyday tasks, and less reliance on reading glasses.
“Before this lens, most of my patients would wear reading glasses on top of their contact lenses,” says Dr. Griffin. “This lens is a game-changer for these patients and for other eye doctors. Patients can put away their reading glasses. And eye doctors can enjoy a quick fitting process.” Dr. Griffin has been granted 14 patents worldwide, which are assigned to VTI.
“My initial response was just, ‘Wow!,’” says NaturalVue™ lens wearer, Diane Harrar. “I knew immediately they worked. Instantly, I could see objects in the distance, and I could read fine print. I could see better than with ordinary contact lenses or glasses.”
“It’s very gratifying to have created this contact lens design, to prescribe it for my patients, and to share it with eye care offices across the country,” says Dr. Griffin. “I think it's going to be a go-to lens for most eye care providers. It’s also humbling that my lens design has enabled us to launch a company, called Visioneering Technologies, Inc., that produces and markets the lens, along with other innovations yet to come. We are already seeing positive responses among patients, which signals exciting growth opportunities for the future as more people discover this liberating lens design.”