Game-Changing AI Startups Aiming to Treat Amblyopia and Cure Loss of Vision

Anthony Mosavi
February 24, 2020

According to a study conducted by one of the world’s leading market research firms, the AI market for healthcare applications will likely see a rise from 663.8 million to 6,662 million, a tenfold growth between the years 2014 and 2021. However, there has also been a rising disparity between the existing AI-based healthcare solutions and the current healthcare demands. 

Long-term, chronic conditions such as loss of vision, amblyopia treatment, and diabetes are in urgent need of more effective solutions. In fact, startups such as NovaSight and Artelus are making strides through their relevant, in demand, and well-thought applications of AI to address such types of eye disorders.

Innovation in the realm of eye-care 

With more than 50% of our sensory perception solely reliant on eyes, it is essential to recognize the importance and influence of prompt eye-care in our current times. Combined with the fact that most smartphone users spend more than three hours a day staring at a screen, the urgency of eye-health is now greater than ever. 

Also known as lazy eye, amblyopia is a commonly occurring condition that is caused when one among the pair of two eyes has trouble focusing, leading to the brain, preferring the other functional eye over the faulty one. Over time, the weaker eye begins to deteriorate and finally leads to loss of vision in the long run. While this condition is prevalent among children, it is known to affect adults as well. 

To put things in perspective, here’s what recent eye-health research states: roughly two out of every hundred children in the US are suffering from Amblyopia. 

The current protocol to treating this condition would be approaching an eye doctor and undergoing the eye-drop therapy, which blurs the vision in the functional eye to force the brain to rely on the faulty eye as well. It is also worth noting that unsuccessful treatment of this condition in childhood will result in the continued loss of vision in adulthood as well. 

Addressing the urgent eye-care needs, one-at-a-time 

NovaSight, guided by the mission to bring pediatric vision care into the digital age, has now brought a cutting-edge digitised solution towards Amblyopia (lazy eye) treatment. Unlike the conventional treatment involving an eye-patch and eye-drop-therapy, NovaSight has developed CureSight, an AI-based eye-tracking solution. 

Children suffering from lazy eye will simply need to wear the special pair of glasses and watch general TV-content from a NovaSight tablet. The technology on the glasses tracks the eye movement and blurs the stronger eye, gradually forcing the brain to rely on the weaker amblyopic eye. Compared to the uncomfortable and limiting eye-patch treatment, asking children to watch the content they enjoy while improving their eyesight is the perfect amalgamation of comfort, accessibility, and prompt healthcare. 

“The system is leased to patients for the duration of the treatment, which usually runs on average from three to four months. CureSight contains dozens of video content sources like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Channel, and more,” told Mosche Barel, NovaSight’s VP for sales and marketing, in a recent interview. 

While NovaSight is steadily advancing the amblyopia treatment, another Indian startup known as Artelus is focused on assisting healthcare professionals to fight the diabetics-induced loss of vision. 

Short for artificial learning system, Artelus has developed a learning system based on AI and deep learning that mimics the human brain’s neural system. With each successive diagnosis, the learning system perfects itself and helps offer a more precise diagnosis. As of now, the Indian startup’s computer-aided screening empowers any eye doctor to detect the early onset of diabetic retinopathy to prevent the loss of vision. 

Looking forward: AI and Healthcare 

NovaSight’s CureSight is set to launch in Europe and the US in the coming few months.

AI-based healthcare market research makes it clear that the previous decade mostly innovated on historic and evidence-based data, whereas the current decade is now focusing on real-time and outcome-based care. 

All-in-all, innovative treatment and diagnostic solutions for amblyopia treatment and curing loss of vision clearly hint a bright future for AI-based healthcare solutions.

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