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Wearable device for eye diseases diagnosis

Grant number: 17/16014-1
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: June 01, 2018 - February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Biomedical Engineering - Bioengineering
Principal Investigator:José Augusto Stuchi
Grantee:José Augusto Stuchi
Host Company:Phelcom Technologies Ltda. - ME
CNAE: Fabricação de aparelhos e equipamentos de medida, teste e controle
Fabricação de aparelhos eletromédicos e eletroterapêuticos e equipamentos de irradiação
Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: São Carlos
Associated scholarship(s):18/23331-6 - Wearable device for eye diseases diagnosis, BP.TT
18/09701-5 - Wearable device for eye diseases diagnosis, BP.PIPE


Visual health is a constant theme in health-related discussions both in the public and private sectors. These concerns are often motivated by the large and growing number of people who are blind or have low vision, which in the world reaches 285 million people. A point for attention is the fact that 80% of blindness cases could be avoided, but this does not occur due to the lack of access to diagnostic procedures and treatment, lack of ophthalmologists and scarcity of devices available for examination. Most ophthalmologic equipment are expensive and they are available mainly in large urban centers, since low volume operation makes them unfeasible in small cities. In addition, they are not easily transportable and patients usually travel to health centers or specialized clinics for health care assistance. This situation is especially critical in developing countries that concentrate 90% of those with visual impairments. In Brazil, 85% of cities do not have ophthalmologic care, which was evidenced in our previous work in the field, where we verified that people from smaller cities are unattended and needs to move to specialty centers in big cities. Proposals that bring mobility and enable examination anywhere, outside a specialized medical environment, with teams working in the field are being applied in several initiatives, and in this scenario we present this current research project. We aim to research and develop an innovative, wearable and cloud-connected equipment that allows the diagnosis of diseases of the anterior (front) and posterior (back) segments of the human eye, at a much lower cost than current technologies. The proposal is to integrate the optical system of illumination and imaging of the eye to the structure of a virtual reality glass. With the system positioned around the patient eye, ideal conditions are created for the ophthalmological examination, with the correct positioning and alignment for the capture system. This creates less dependence on the operator's ability to handle the equipment when compared to some existing portable solutions, and ensures greater quality and repeatability in the exams executions. The equipment will have two operation modes, capturing images from the front and back of the eye in a non-mydriatic way, i.e., without the need for dilation of the patient's pupil. As a result, diseases such as cataracts, corneal ulcers, pterygium, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can be identified and recorded, improving treatment and prevention. The images captured from the eye can be shared with a remote specialist via telemedicine system, which can evaluate the images, diagnose diseases and move forwards them to the correct treatment. Another interesting point of this equipment is the use of intelligent algorithms which will be developed as one of the main research fronts and will be used to identify patterns in the images and highlight characteristics of diseases, acting as a diagnostic aid tool. This semi-automation and the proposed modes of operation are aligned with an observed demand for accurate and agile exams, since depending on the severity of the patient disease, the treatment procedures must be a priority. With these proposed innovations, the equipment is characterized as a disruptive technology, since there are no similar solutions in the market. From its use, the main causes of blindness - cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy - shall be quickly detected, speeding up the treatment and prevention and helping to improve the quality of people's lives and health. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Portable device can be used to diagnose eye disease remotely 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
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