Methods and Technology for Assisting Visually Impaired Patients

TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY

Florida International University (FIU) is pursuing business partners interested in developing and commercializing Methods and Technology for Assisting Visually Impaired Patients. An invention aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals that suffer from the common visual impairments associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma.

AMD is the leading cause of visual disability and blindness in persons 65 years of age and older in the United States and other developed countries. It affects 11% percent of the population of 65-74 years old and 28% of the population over 74 years old. Glaucoma is also a leading cause of visual disability and blindness, with a reported 2.2 million cases of open-angle glaucoma patients. Owing to the rapid aging of the US population, cases of both AMD and glaucoma will continue to increase.

The purpose of this FIU developed technology is to capitalize on the remaining functional areas of the retina found in AMD and glaucoma patients allowing them to visualize complete images of the world similarly to how a normal eye would perceive them.

To successfully achieve this, images are captured by a camera, distorted or reorganized by an algorithm (retaining key visual information), and then projected onto the aforementioned remaining functional areas of the retina.

One concept for the device is a goggle consisting of optical components, which are capable of redistributing the light transmitting through the goggle onto the peripheral retina in the case of AMD and the central retina in the case of glaucoma.

Another concept for the device consists of an individual camera for each eye, which records real-time images at the same height and same field of view or a normal eye. These images are then processed and projected onto small screens on the retina.

Image distribution on both concepts can be customized according to the distribution of the remaining photoreceptors of each eye. As a result, each goggle needs to be customized for different patients. Additionally in order to provide stereovision the two visual glasses need to be aligned in the way a normal person utilizes their two eyes to see.

APPLICATIONS
  • The technology is aimed at improving the vision of individuals who suffer from impaired central vision (AMD patients) and impaired peripheral vision (glaucoma patients).
  • There are also possible applications in the military and defense sector.
ADVANTAGES
  • There is no commercially available technology that helps AMD and glaucoma patients to such a degree.
  • The technology is flexible as it can be reprogrammed as AMD and glaucoma progresses affecting larger portions of a patient’s visual field.
  • After a period of training patients are capable of distinguishing the central and peripheral parts of projected images.
  • This technology will help visually impaired patients lead normal lives.
CONTACT

For additional information about this technology opportunity, please contact Elizabeth Garami at egarami@fiu.edu or by phone at 305-348-0008 and ask about record IP 1409.