Israeli startup debuts no-touch, AI-powered device to track glaucoma-related eye pressure

Until now, a glaucoma diagnosis has typically required patients to report to a clinic to undergo a battery of exams that can include dilating, applying air pressure and placing lenses and probes on the eye, with those tests repeated every few months to keep track of the condition’s progress.

In keeping with the movement of much of healthcare out of the clinic and into remote settings, however, glaucoma diagnoses and check-ups may soon be available via telehealth—at least, if Ophthalmic Sciences’ regulatory dreams come true.

The Israeli startup has developed a device that uses artificial intelligence to measure intraocular pressure, which it claims is the first AI-based, completely contact-free tool for measuring eye fluid pressure.

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Unveiled this week, IOPerfect applies controlled air pressure to the eyes while embedded cameras capture the internal and external eye blood vessels’ response to the pressure. Those findings are then analyzed by Ophthalmic Sciences’ AI algorithms to allow for remote diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma. The entire test takes less than two minutes from start to finish.

“We are excited to have our technology serve as a meaningful tool to help fight the glaucoma epidemic and prevent millions from going blind,” said CEO Ariel Weinstein.

“Growing exposure to phone and computer screens appears to be linked to increased glaucoma prevalence. Along with an aging population, the risk keeps getting higher, increasing the need for early diagnosis,” Weinstein said. “But most importantly, the past year has proven the value of tele-diagnosis, and this fact has attracted significant attention from clinicians and investors in our venture.”

The testing system is housed in a headset similar to those used for virtual reality applications, while the AI analysis occurs after the collected data are uploaded from the headset to a cloud server.

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Ophthalmic Sciences plans to offer the system in a range of products, starting with the IOPerfect and IOPerfect Plus. The latter, it said, would be distributed through a software-as-a-service-based business model, therefore potentially generating “a particularly attractive revenue stream” for the company. Additionally, future products will build on this technology to enable early detection of other ophthalmologic conditions, including cataracts, vascular occlusions, ocular motor disorders and more.

The devices will be marketed not only for self-testing at home, but also for administration by clinicians in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and nursing homes to improve glaucoma screening and diagnosis.

First up, however, the technology will need to be cleared by regulators in the U.S. and abroad. Clinical trials are already underway, with Ophthalmic Sciences aiming to submit the results to the FDA next year. If all goes according to plan, it expects to begin selling the devices in the U.S. and Europe in 2023.