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Retractable beam splitter for microscope

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Retractable beam splitter for microscope


Systems and methods are provided for illuminating a surface to be observed microscopically using a retractable beamsplitter. The retractable beamsplitter allows the use of coaxial illumination when the beamsplitter is positioned in the operator's line of sight. The retractable beamsplitter allows the use of non-coaxial illumination without reducing the amount of illumination that reaches the operator when the beamsplitter is retracted from the operator's line of sight. As a result a single system can be used effectively to provide various types of illumination.

Browse recent Endure Medical, Inc. patents - Cumming, GA, US
Inventors: Jonathan Michael BUTLER, Robert Troy HEWLETT, Robert Jeffrey HEWLETT, Robert McCoy Hewlett
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120307354 - Class: 359385 (USPTO) - 12/06/12 - Class 359 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120307354, Retractable beam splitter for microscope.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/267,380, filed on Nov. 7, 2008.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure is in the field of microscopes.

BACKGROUND

This disclosure refers to various outside documents to aid the reader in understanding the embodiments of the processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, and other teachings of the present disclosure; to enable those of ordinary skill in the art to practice the embodiments of the processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, and other teachings of the present disclosure; and to allow one of ordinary skill in the art to understand the metes and bounds of the embodiments of the processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, and other teachings of the present disclosure. No admission is made that any such document meets any legal definition of “prior art” in any country, and the Applicants reserve the right to demonstrate that any such document meets or fails to meet any legal definition of “prior art” in any country. All such documents are incorporated by reference herein so far as is necessary to enable those of ordinary skill in the art to practice the embodiments of the processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, and other teachings of the present disclosure; and to allow one of ordinary skill in the art to understand the metes and bounds of the embodiments of the processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, and other teachings of the present disclosure.

In the surgical setting, there have been a number of different microscopes designed and sold for ophthalmic surgery. Presently there are no microscopes that deliver two collimated light beams in stereoscopic to the subject surface, e.g., the tissue under examination in a surgical procedure.

Until now microscopes have delivered to the subject surface (1) one or more uncollimated light beams from the objective lens or (2) a single uncollimated light beam below the objective. Routing a parallel light beam through the objective lens transmits a light beam which is not collimated. The illumination system, described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,779,968 delivered a single uncollimated light beam from a single light source to the subject surface through objective lens (shown as 1 or 1a), wherein FIGS. 1 and 3 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,779,968 depict the beam to the subject surface passing through an objective lens which is uncollimated. Another illumination system believed to be from the Zeiss Lumera microscope delivered two focused (uncollimated) beams to the subject surface through the objective lens. Another illumination system from the Moller EOS 900 microscope delivered two focused (uncollimated) light beams through the objective lens to the subject surface.

U.S. patent publication 2010/0118549, published May 13, 2010, describes an invention directed toward cataract surgery in which the microscope light reflects from the retina to produce a red reflex, in essence a backlighting of the lens in cataract surgery.

Illumination in retinal surgery is different from that in cataract surgery. In retinal surgery the microscope is equipped with a device for magnifying the retina so that the surgeon sees a large view of the operative site. However, the illumination of the surgical microscope for cataract surgery is not used in retinal surgery. In retinal surgery, a small fiber-optic pic about 1 mm in diameter is inserted through the sclera and into the vitreous body for direct illumination of the retinal surface. The surgeon holds this fiber-optic pic such that light exiting the tip of the fiber-optic pic is directed toward the retinal tissue on which the operating instruments are utilized.

SUMMARY

Microscopes are used in many different fields. The systems of the present disclosure can be used in any field but are especially useful in surgical settings or any other application in which highly three dimensional objects require magnification, particularly those partially occluded by an enclosure. An example of this is ophthalmic surgery

The illumination system of the present disclosure allows delivery of two collimated light beams to the subject surface which at least partially overlap, producing stereoscopic illumination. Additionally, an independent system of illumination may be provided at an angle oblique to the stereoscopic system. Either system can be used together or separately.

As defined herein and unless otherwise stated, (a) “collimated light” means light rays from any light source which are partially parallel instead of converging or diverging; and (b) “collimation” means the process of arranging converging or diverging light beams so that they are at least partially parallel. If the light source for each stereoscopic beam was truly a point source there would be little overlap of the beams on the subject surface. With a white light source the focal length of the lens varies with wavelength. An ideally collimated beam would result from a monochromatic point source located at the focal point of the condenser lens. The larger the light source, however, the more other effects occur. Light from one side of the bulb, for example, enters the condenser lens at a different point than light from the bulb\'s other side and therefore they behave differently as they exit the lens. Light that lies directly on the optical axis of the lens is collimated but the off axis light creates some divergence in the beams.

Certain embodiments of the illumination system incorporate a 50%/50% beamsplitter plate. The beamsplitter plate facilitates red reflex enhancement during cataract surgery on the lens, but is not necessary for retinal surgery. In fact, its presence can reduce 50% of the light returning from the surgical site to the surgeon\'s eyes. It is therefore desirable to remove the beamsplitter plate from the optical system for retinal surgery. In certain embodiments of the system this is accomplished by allowing the beamsplitter plate to be removed from the light beam path, thus allowing 100% of the reflected light from the retina to enter the optical system of the surgical microscope.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a view from the top of an embodiment of the illumination system showing the stereoscopic illumination system and the oblique illumination system. The lines with arrows represent the centers of the light beams from their source until they reflect against the beamsplitter (for stereoscopic) and against the full mirror (for oblique).

FIG. 2 is a side schematic view of one side of the embodiment of the stereoscopic illumination system. It shows a single collimated light beam illuminating the subject surface, in this instance an eye, and light from the eye\'s red reflex traveling through the objective lens toward the binoculars.

FIG. 3 is a side schematic view of an embodiment of the oblique illumination system, in which the light is offset at an angle oblique to the stereoscopic illumination system. It shows a light beam illuminating the subject surface, in this instance an eye, and light from the eye\'s red reflex traveling through the objective lens toward the binoculars.

FIG. 4 is a side view of an embodiment of the system as a detachable module for an existing microscope, including a side schematic view of the stereoscopic illumination system and how the light beam illuminates the subject surface. It shows a collimated light beam illuminating the subject surface, in this instance an eye, and light from the eye\'s red reflex traveling through the objective lens toward the binoculars.

FIG. 4a is a side view of an embodiment of the illumination system as a detachable module for an existing microscope, including a side schematic view of the oblique illumination system and how the light beam illuminates the subject surface. It shows a light beam illuminating the subject surface, in this instance an eye, and light from the eye\'s red reflex traveling through the objective lens toward the binoculars.

FIG. 5 is a side view of an embodiment of the illumination system as a module attached to an existing microscope, including a side schematic view of the stereoscopic illumination system and how the light beam illuminates the subject surface. It shows a collimated light beam illuminating the subject surface, in this instance an eye, and light from the red reflex traveling through the objective lens toward the binoculars.

FIG. 5a is a side view of an embodiment of the illumination system as a module attached to an existing microscope, including a side schematic view of the oblique illumination system and how the light beam illuminates the subject surface. It shows a light beam illuminating the subject surface, in this instance an eye, and light from the red reflex traveling through the objective lens toward the binoculars.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120307354 A1
Publish Date
12/06/2012
Document #
13216178
File Date
08/23/2011
USPTO Class
359385
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
02B21/06
Drawings
15



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