i2Eye jumps into visual testing world

Visual field testing in young children to ensure that they don't have a brain tumor or other head injury can be challenging. Current systems require them to pay attention for several minutes and provide considered feedback. But this morning, Edinburgh BioQuarter announced the launch of Scotland's i2Eye Diagnostics, which will soon unveil the world's first visual field analyzer for patient groups who were previously difficult to test.

We first learned about i2Eye at BIO 2011 when Dr. Mike Capaldi, director of Edinburgh BioQuarter, told FierceMedicalDevices about the company. He was excited about the prospects for the visual field analyzer, which should prove particularly useful not just for young children, but also for the elderly, disabled persons, and those experiencing illness or trauma.

Its technology, which is known as Saccadic Vector Optokinetic Perimetry, capitalizes on a subject's natural reactions to movement and light to analyze their visual field--all without the need for patient comprehension or direct feedback to the tester. The seemingly simple offering, which was the result of 5 years of research by a University of Edinburgh team led by professor Robert Minns, includes a computer screen, tracking device and software that allows for the recording of eye movements, representing a step up from current products on the market.

"The current machines on the market haven't changed in the past 20 years," CEO Peter Estibeiro told The Scotsman. "Our equipment is a generation ahead of anything else currently available and widens the market to include children and vulnerable adults for the very first time."

This innovation has caught the attention of investors. The company is now slated to receive a first round investment from Kelvin Capital and others to help it complete product development and ultimately launch within 6 months.
Earlier this month, FMD had a chance to catch up with i2Eye on a media trip sponsored by Scottish Development International. Estibeiro told the group that the instrument also has the potential to help diagnose glaucoma--a significant market opportunity. He estimated that company revenues would be around £80,000 ($126,900) for year one and between £4.5 million ($7.1 million) and £5 million ($7.9 million) by year 5. Indeed, according to a statement, the market value for the company is $280 million in the U.S. alone.

While i2Eye is way ahead of the game with this technology, other entities are trying to make inroads with tests to detect vision defects. For example, last fall, Cambridge Enterprise touted KidzEyez, a specialized visual field test system to detect peripheral vision defects. At the time, the group said it was seeking commercial partners for licensing, collaboration and development.

- see the i2Eye release 
- check out more from The Scotsman
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