Contact: Dr. Adar Pelah, CUED & York University, and Dr. Louise Allen, Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Addenbrookes Hospital
Mentors: Bob Pettigrew & Dr. Nicky Athanassopoulou
Dr. Pelah and Dr. Allen have designed a new ophthalmic device (perimeter) which can measure the visual field of small children. A first prototype is currently being built by an MEng student at York University, and should be available for demonstration by the time the i-Team starts work.
Although devices already exist to perform these measurements in adults, these are not suitable for small children, who are fidgety and have short attention spans. Currently, clinicians must rely on crude and inaccurate assessments for such patients. Yet very serious neurological conditions, such as tumours of the optic chiasm and pituitary gland, can be diagnosed if early visual field loss can be detected, allowing sight-saving therapy. The new device is designed to be child-friendly and to allow accurate measurements to be made quickly using the inadvertent cooperation of the patient, whose attention would be engaged in viewing the cartoon characters or similar presented on the device.
The new product is believed to be unique in its field and application. The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate the market for such a device, and to recommend the best route to market for the inventors. It is expected that they will contact a number of experts in paediatric ophthalmology, including those working within and outside of hospitals, as well as distributors and manufacturers of other ophthalmic devices. Key questions include whether or not this can be a viable stand-alone device, or whether it would need to be combined with others to create a more complete visual measurement system, as well as viable price levels, and how these might affect its rate of adoption.