The SFU Student Social Innovation Fund, a collaboration between RADIUS and Embark, provides project funding of up to $1000. Below, we get a second update from Ophthalight Digital Solutions, a project team funded earlier this year. See their first blog post here.
Two years ago, when we initiated our new venture, Ophthalight Digital Solutions, we were passionate about the idea of automating the manual routine eye tests and its benefits for physicians in terms of speed, accuracy, and ease of use. At the time, we were mostly looking for sustainable solutions for doctors to enhance their daily routines and maximize their profitability. During the course of the device design and implementation, we noticed another important stakeholder at play, the patient. Increasing the accuracy of the tests is enabling early-stage diagnosis of chronic diseases and drastically changing patients’ quality of life.
During the past couple of months, we have been lucky enough to see the device save one patient’s life. This is a moment of pride and satisfaction, which was not possible without the help of various incubator programs and seed funds such as RADIUS and Embark’s Social Innovation Seed Fund, Venture Connections, Coast Capital, and Wavefront. We would also like to thank the SFU Beedie School of Business and the Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization program for helping us study our venture in more detail as well as providing financial support to validate our business assumptions.
During the course of the clinical trials, we encountered a young lady who was suffering from blurred vision. She had the same problem a couple of months before, but a routine examination at the doctor’s office did not result in any specific diagnosis. When she reached out to our colleague, she was still suffering from the blurriness. Three experienced ophthalmologists had checked her eyes to find the reason for the problem, but they couldn’t find anything. At this time, our colleague (who was performing the clinical trials) suggested an examination with O-Glass, which resulted in diagnosing a very mild optic nerve deficiency. As she had a family history of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), she was then referred to a thorough MRI examination and a very early stage of MS was detected. Currently, she is being treated and has a high chance of complete recovery, which is possible only when MS is diagnosed at early stages; this early stage diagnosis rarely happens.
Upon completion of the prototype, the initial clinical trials of O-Glass were performed on 59 subjects in Bojnurd, Iran. The main objective of the clinical trials was to demonstrate the effect of diagnosis with O-Glass in comparison with experienced ophthalmologists and physicians. In addition to successes like the young woman’s story, the O-Glass demonstrates a significant increase in accuracy of the manual swinging flashlight test. The results of the clinical trial have been submitted to the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology for publication.
Other than performing the common eye test automatically, the telemedicine capabilities of O-Glass facilitate access to diagnostic eye testing in rural and remote settings. We are currently negotiating with three different teams who are active in the field of telemedicine for rural areas to integrate O-Glass with their available services.
Overall, O-Glass offers a great tool for automating the common swinging flashlight test, which will enhance the early-stage diagnosis and follow up of various diseases. The first round of clinical trials of the device demonstrated the performance of O-Glass and its promising results. Currently, our team in Ophthalight Digital Solutions is working hard in order to perform more comprehensive clinical trials as well as filling out the required application for regulatory approvals. These steps will take us closer to our mission, which is to help people keep their vision and ensure their lifestyle by making eye care more accessible while providing eye care professionals with advanced mobile health tools that will allow an increase in the frequency, speed, and profitability of eye exams.