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Publication numberUS20070284263 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/757,205
Publication dateDec 13, 2007
Filing dateJun 1, 2007
Priority dateJun 8, 2006
Also published asWO2007146627A2, WO2007146627A3
Publication number11757205, 757205, US 2007/0284263 A1, US 2007/284263 A1, US 20070284263 A1, US 20070284263A1, US 2007284263 A1, US 2007284263A1, US-A1-20070284263, US-A1-2007284263, US2007/0284263A1, US2007/284263A1, US20070284263 A1, US20070284263A1, US2007284263 A1, US2007284263A1
InventorsE. Ric Giardina, David Andrae
Original AssigneeGiardina E Ric, David Andrae
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Integrated contact lens case and replacement time
US 20070284263 A1
Abstract
An integrated contact lens case and an electronic timer which may be set to a predetermined time such as seven, fourteen or thirty days as the period during which the user may use contact lenses before replacing them. The timer generates an electrical signal upon reaching the predetermined time which signal is applied to an indicator carried by the housing to provide a visual signal to the user that the time for replacing the contact lens has arrived. The contact lens case is removably secured through the housing within which the electronic timer apparatus is disposed by a plurality of complimentary protrusions and recesses.
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Claims(12)
1. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer for providing to a user an indication that the time to replace contact lenses has arrived comprising:
a housing including a contact lens case mount;
an electronic timer apparatus disposed within said housing, said timer generating an electrical output signal upon reaching a predetermined time;
an indicator carried by said housing;
means coupling said output signal to said indicator for activating said indicator to provide said user with said time to replace indication; and
means for setting said electronic timer to said predetermined time.
2. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 1 which further includes means on said lens case mount for removably securing a contact lens case to said housing.
3. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 2 wherein said means for securing includes complimentary protrusions and recesses formed on said lens case mount and said lens case.
4. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 3 wherein said protrusions include flanges and said recesses include groves within which said flanges are received.
5. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 3 wherein said protrusions include pins and said recesses include openings within which said pins are received.
6. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 1 wherein said timer includes a counter, a pulse generator coupled to said counter and switch means coupled to said counter.
7. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 1 wherein said indicator is an LCD.
8. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 1 wherein said indicator is an LED.
9. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer for providing to a user an indication that the time to replace contact lenses has arrived comprising:
(a) a molded hollow housing having an upper surface defining an opening therein;
(b) an LCD disposed within said housing and being visible through said opening;
(c) a printed circuit board disposed within said housing and including an electronic timer circuit which produces an electrical output signal upon expiration of a predetermined time;
(d) means for setting said timer circuit to said predetermined time;
(e) means coupling said electronic timer circuit output signal to said LCD to activate said LCD upon expiration of said predetermined time;
(f) a contact lens case; and
(g) means for removably securing said contact lens case to said upper surface of said housing.
10. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 9 wherein said means for removably securing said lens case to said upper surface of said housing includes complimentary protrusions and recesses formed on said upper surface of said housing and said lens case.
11. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 10 wherein said protrusions include flanges and said recesses include groves within which said flanges are received.
12. An integrated contact lens case and electronic timer as defined in claim 10 wherein said protrusions include pins and said recesses include openings within which said pins are received.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon Provisional Application 60/812,516, filed Jun. 8, 2006 and hereby claims benefit of the filing date thereof.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the replacement of contact lenses and more particularly to the combination of a contact lens carrying case which is integrally formed with a timer adapted to indicate to the user when replacement of the contact lens should be accomplished.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Use of contact lenses is very prevalent among individuals requiring vision correcting lenses. Many of the contact lenses which are utilized are referred to as disposable contacts. Such disposable contact lenses must be replaced on a periodic basis which usually is determined by the type of lens and the prescription which is provided by the physician or optometrist. Many of the disposable contact lenses are approved to be worn without replacement for up to seven days and some for fourteen days with proper daily care. There is also a gas permeable lens which is also approved for thirty (30) days of wear with proper daily care.

It has been demonstrated that improper attention and lack of compliance with the schedule for replacement may result in corneal ulcer and other adverse reactions. For example, the risk of developing ulcerative karatitis is greater with increased consecutive days of extended lens wear before replacement. It has also been found that acanthamoeba karatitis is an infrequent but serious infection among contact lens wearer and occurs when there is improper extended wear of the contact lens.

It has also been found that it is extremely difficult for individuals who wear contact lenses, particularly of the extended disposable types, to remember the replacement schedule. Individuals have attempted to try various tricks to aid in memory as to the replacement schedule none of which have been very successful. Numerous types of contact lens cases have been provided in the prior art. These contact lens cases include, not only a structure which includes a pair of lens holder members but in several instances includes a container cap which has a time-keeping function and is rotatable to reference calendar days, month names or other time related indicia. In one instance, a contact lens storage device is known in which the cover is cooperatively arranged with and attached to the housing such that the counter which is included with the case, automatically operates to advance a count each time the cover is removed, thus providing to the user a count of the number of days that the contact lens have been worn. Although, these prior art devices function to perform the task desired, they are difficult to use and require in several instances, a positive action by the user to provide the information desired.

There is thus a need for a simple and reliable apparatus to automatically provide a positive and readily discernable indication to the contact lens wearer that the time for replacement of the contact lenses has arrived.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a combination of a contact lens case and electronic timer mechanism integrated as a single package. The electronic timer mechanism provides a visual means of indicating to the contact lens wearer that a preselected period of time has expired and the time for replacement of the lens has arrived. As an added feature of the invention, the contact lens case may be removed from the integrated package for travel and ease of maintenance of the contact lenses should such be required.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to similar components:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the integrated contact lens case and timer;

FIGS. 2 is a plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the lens case removed;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the apparatus taken about the lines 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the timing mechanism used in the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken about lines 5-5, FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken about the line 6-6 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1, there is illustrated an integrated apparatus 10 which includes a contact lens carrying case 12 affixed to a pedestal or mount 14 which is constructed as an integral part of a housing 16 within which the electronic timer apparatus is disposed. The housing includes a button 18 which is utilized to set the timer according to the replacement periodicity designated by the physician or optometrist. For example, if the physician or optometrist has indicated that the lenses should be replaced once every seven days, then the set button 18 would be depressed one time. If, however, the contact lenses were such that they could be worn for a period of two weeks, then the set button would be pressed twice. If, however, the lenses were of the new Silicone Hydrogel or gas permeable lens which could be worn for a period of thirty (30) days, then the set button would be depressed three times.

Typically, the user would use or depress the set button when the contact lenses are inserted by the user into his or her eyes. Upon such use, the set button activates the timer apparatus. Alternatively there could be provided a separate start button which the user could push to activate the timer apparatus.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 5 and 6, the means for removably securing the lens case 12 to the lens case mount 14 is illustrated in greater detail. As in shown in FIG. 5, a plurality of protrusions, such as the circular flanges 26 and 28 extend upwardly from the top surface 33 of the lens mount 14. Also extending upwardly from the surface 33, are a plurality of pins 30, 31 and 32. Although the flanges 26 and 28 are illustrated as continuous circular flanges, it should be understood by those skilled in the art, that the flanges or protrusions may take other geometric forms while still accomplishing the desired objective of removably securing the lens case 12 to the mount 14. As is shown in FIG. 6 the recesses which cooperate with the flanges and pins are formed in the lower surface 35 of the lens case 12. As therein shown, there are circular recesses or grooves 36 and 38 which cooperate with the circular flanges 26 and 28 respectively. Also shown, are three blind holes or openings 37, 39 and 40 which receive the pins 30, 31, and 32 respectively. Although the protrusions are shown on the lens mount 14 and the recesses in the bottom of the lens case 12, it should be understood that such could be reversed or some protrusions could exist on the mount 14 and recesses would also be provided with protrusions and recesses also formed on the lens case 12. The primary principle is that the protrusions and recesses are complimentary and are formed to provide frictional engagement to removably secure the lens case 12 to the lens mount 14.

Upon conclusion of the predetermined replacement period, an indicator such as an LED light 20 would be activated by an electrical signal generated by the timer apparatus indicating that it is time to replace the lenses. Alternatively, or in addition, a window 22 having visible therein an LCD indication such as “replace lenses” could be provided. In either case there is a visual means for alerting the contact lens wearer that it is time to replace the lenses. As an additional alternative, if such is desired, there could be provided an LED or LCD display timer 24 which would provide an indication to the contact lenses wearer as to the amount of time that the lenses have been worn or alternatively, could be a countdown timer indicating the amount of time left before the lenses are to be replaced.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 2, the housing 16 is illustrated with the set button 18. The display timer 24 indicates for example, that 14 days have passed and that it is time to replace the lens and the REPLACE LENSES display 22 provides a warning to the user that it is time to replace the contact lens. As is illustrated in FIG. 2, the lens case 12 has been removed from the mount 14. As is illustrated in FIG. 2 the housing 16 includes means for removably securing the lens case to the housing comprising complimentary protrusions and recesses in the form of a pair of circular flanges 26 and 28 which mate with complimentary grooves (FIG. 6) formed on the underside of the lens case 12. Pins 30 and 32 extend upwardly from the center of the flanges 26 and 28, respectively, and engage complimentary openings (FIG. 6) provided in the underside of the lens case 12. The flanges and the pins are complimentary and cooperate with the appropriate grooves and openings in the bottom of the lens case 12 to hold the lens case in position on the housing 16. However, the attachment is such that with the proper amount of force exerted by grasping the serrated edges 34 of the lens case 12, the lens case may be removed from the housing 16 for travel, ease of maintenance of the lenses or otherwise. As is illustrated, the lens case mount 14 is formed unitarily with the housing 16 for allowing the lens case to be integrated with the timer housing.

As shown in FIG. 3, the housing 16 is a hollow molded structure which provides an enclosure 42 in which an LCD 41 is positioned. A screw 43 is utilized to hold the LCD in position internally of the enclosure 43. An elastomeric connector 44 is utilized to connect the circuit on a printed circuit board 45 to the LCD 41 so that the LCD can be activated at the conclusion of the appropriate replacement time. The printed circuit board has a microprocessor or other suitable components to provide the desired timing. The printed circuit board 45 is held in place by an appropriate fastener 47. Batteries 46 are included within an appropriate portion of the enclosure 42 and as will be understood by those skilled in the art appropriate electrical connections are made between the batteries 46 and the components on the printed circuit board 45.

As shown in FIG. 4 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the circuit which activates the LCD and/or LED may include a pulse generator 50 which generates a series of pulses at any frequency desired which are applied by way of the connector 52 to a counter 54. The counter 54 may be any counter known to the art which receives the train of pulses 52 and counts them until a predetermined count corresponding to the 7, 14, or 30 day period has been achieved. Upon the achievement of such a count, an output signal is applied by way of the connector 56 to a switch 58 which may be any switch means, such as a transistor or the like, known to the art. The switch 58 upon being activated closes the circuit to the LED and/or LCD 60 to activate the same. As is indicated hereinabove, there is provided a set mechanism 62 which applies a signal by way of the conduit 64 to the counter 54 to cause the count to be appropriate for a seven-day period, a fourteen-day period or a 30-day period as specified by the physician or optometrist at the time the contact lens prescription is provided to the contact lens wearer. In addition, a start button 65 (shown in dashed lines) may be used to start the timer when the user inserts contact lenses.

The apparatus as illustrated and above described may be molded of any plastic material such as polypropylene or by using AgION antimicrobial plastic that safely inhibits the growth of bacteria on the surface. It should also be recognized by those skilled in the art that the light and display timer or replacements window may be in any color available utilizing such devices and that the integrated housing and lens case may also be constructed of plastic material of a choice of colors.

There has thus been disclosed an integrated contact lens case and timer mechanism which provides to the contact lens wearer a positive and easily discernable indication that the time for replacement of the contact lens has arrived.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7628269 *Jan 26, 2007Dec 8, 2009John O'HaraCountdown timer contact lens case
US8069979 *Oct 11, 2010Dec 6, 20111-800 Contacts, Inc.Contact lens package and storage case, holder, and system and method of making and using
US20130105335 *Nov 2, 2012May 2, 2013Jose Cruz Chavez, JR.Contact lens case with adhesive pad to remove lint and debris from fingers
EP1949813A1 *Jan 22, 2008Jul 30, 2008O'Hara, JohnCountdown timer contact lens case
WO2012101572A1 *Jan 24, 2012Aug 2, 2012Westcott Dale HowardContainer for storage of contact lenses
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/5.1
International ClassificationA45C11/04
Cooperative ClassificationA45C15/08, A45C13/001, A45C11/005
European ClassificationA45C13/00A, A45C11/00L, A45C15/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 18, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ANDRE, DAVID, WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PACQ, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019983/0641
Effective date: 20071001
Jun 1, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: PACQ, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ANDRAE, DAVID;REEL/FRAME:019371/0145
Effective date: 20070530