Brussels, 13 Oct 2004
Clinical investigators from the Netherlands, Italy, the US and Japan are working with researchers from the University of Kent in the UK on clinical trials for new technology that can detect eye disease at an early stage.
The technique combines two high-resolution imaging technologies, thus providing doctors with 3-D images of the retina, macula and optic nerve. These high resolution images enable clinicians to diagnose common ocular diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes and age-related macula degeneration early, and to treat them before the damage is severe. It is estimated that by 2020, 200 million people will be visually impaired, but that 80 per cent of these diseases could be prevented or treated.
The trials are being funded by the Canadian company Ophthalmic Technology Inc. 'At Kent we created a very cost effective imaging system which simultaneously produces optical coherence tomography and scanning laser ophthalmoscope images,' explains project coordinator Professor Adrian Podoleanu. 'Its early potential was immediately realised by OTI, who commissioned the assembly of several prototypes to be tested in different clinics worldwide before embarking on commercial exploitation of the invention.'
It is now planned to extend the clinical trials to other leading medical centres in Europe, the US and Japan.