Obtaining clear photographic images of the retina is crucial in diagnosing and treating many vision threatening diseases. However, equipment used to obtain retinal images is large and primarily relegated to doctors’ offices. Rochester-based Lumetrics, Inc. plans to change this paradigm with help from collaborators at FEI, Eyeon Therapeutics and ASE Optics Inc. And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is backing the effort.
Lumetrics received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from NIH to develop a laboratory prototype of a hand-held device that will do the same work that the table-top model of a fundus camera can do. The initial idea was the brainchild of FEI’s Steven Feldon, M.D. — who, along with Geunyoung Yoon, Ph.D., — is awaiting a patent on the device concept. David Kleinman, M.D., president of Eyeon Therapeutics, and a retinal specialist on FEI’s faculty, has been actively involved in moving this promising technology forward.
“This project represents a perfect example of combining two areas of expertise Rochester is famous for — precision optical engineering and clinical ophthalmology — to develop a cutting-edge new product,” said Filipp Igantovich, Principal Scientist at Lumetrics. “We have engaged an excellent team of local optical engineers along with the world-renowned clinicians of the University of Rochester, and are well positioned in developing this novel optical instrument for practical and affordable medical use.”
If successful, the camera could prove invaluable in screening for eye disease, especially in remote areas and in countries with limited access to ophthalmology clinics.