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Ophthalmic Appliances in Identification Information Retrieved From Spectacles and Contact Lenses

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 56 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2006 Pages: 540-548
Dr. E. R. Bertolli; Dr. C. J. Forkiotis; Dr. D. R. Pannone
Date Published
July 2006
9 pages
This article explains how eyeglass frames and lenses, including contact lenses, found at a homicide scene can be used to identify the wearer, whether he/she is the victim or another person at the scene.
Most eye doctors are able to obtain information from eyeglass frames, lenses, and contact lenses or aid the forensic investigator in doing so. Somewhere on the inner surfaces of spectacle frames information is provided on the manufacturer's name, color code, temple size, eye-wire size, and bridge size. The prescription of a spectacle lens may be read by a lens power measuring instrument, even if only a piece of a broken lens can be found. If enough lens material is available, along with the frame, the pupillary distance may be measured, as well as the multifocal height, lens thickness, and base curve. If possible, the orientation of the lens pieces relative to the spectacle frame should be determined, since this aids in determining the astigmatism axis when applicable. Information on the frame and lens can be matched with vision and eyeglass records of suspects or possible victims. In addition, some metals of frames may react with sweat or acid from the skin of the wearer, and DNA may be found in crevasses in the frame or frame-lens junctions, nose pads, or temple areas. Other possible sources of evidence are fingerprints on the frames or lens, scratch patterns from cleaning, and various residues that may hold clues to the wearer's occupation. A separate section of the article discusses the obtaining of identification information from contact lenses. 5 figures, 4 references, and appended Investigator's Appliance Checklist