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Industry News

07 Jun 2021

New System Shows Potential to Increase Independence for Visually Impaired

eMacula systemThe use of Innovega Inc.'s eMacula® system, which pairs smart contact lenses with stylish display eyewear, demonstrated positive results with partially sighted subjects for their daily tasks including reading, smart phone use and distance vision according to research conducted at The Ohio State University (OSU). The research was presented in a scientific poster during a recent annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). The OSU study, conducted by Drs. San-San Cooley, Rebecca Deffler and Bradley Dougherty, was funded in part by a grant from the US National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The Innovega eMacula system uses spectacle-mounted microdisplays and iOptik® smart contact lenses to enhance vision with magnification and image modification. The purpose of this study, with people having reduced vision that cannot be improved with prescription glasses, contact lenses or surgery, was to evaluate the system's usefulness for near and distance visual tasks, and gather their opinions of the device.

The eMacula system evaluation was conducted with nine visually impaired participants who were recruited from the OSU Low Vision Rehabilitation Service. Visual acuity was improved in each eye tested with the device. Study participants also rated the comfort of the smart contact lenses at an average of 7.1 on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent). Three quarters of subjects felt the device would likely improve performance on tasks of daily living and increase their independence.

"The results of the evaluation of the Innovega contact lens-enabled wearable display system support the potential to provide the wide field of view required when magnifying content along with high resolution and control of brightness and contrast for visually impaired users," said Dr. Bradley Dougherty, co-investigator and Associate Professor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Innovega is jointly developing display eyewear and software for the visually impaired and investing in process engineering to lower the cost of its molded soft smart contact lenses with the goal of commercializing a monthly disposable contact lens.

"We are encouraged by the results of this study and we received valuable feedback for further refinements of image processing and improvements in camera specifications," said Dr. Jerry Legerton, Innovega Co-Founder and Chief Clinical and Regulatory Officer. "We look forward to the next clinical evaluation with visually impaired subjects following advancing our clinical trials for regulatory clearance of the iOptik contact lenses with the fully sighted."

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