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ASTRI and InnoHK Collaborate on R&D Technologies for Eye Health

Image Credits: ASTRI, Press Release

The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) announced its partnership with the Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) aimed at developing at least two projects that will treat patients of different ages suffering from lazy eye and other eye conditions. CEVR was established under the Innovation and Technology Commission’s platform for research and innovation, InnoHK.

Amblyopia is a common visual impairment that reduces one’s vision and ability to see in 3D. To treat this condition the brain must be retrained to use information coming from both eyes. This is especially challenging to achieve in adult patients because neuroplasticity decreases with age; the brain also fully matures as we get older.

This breakthrough collaboration will involve the development of novel treatment methods that will incorporate ASTRI’s AR technologies and CEVR’s research on recovering neuroplasticity in the visual cortex. The ultimate goal is to “heal” patients’ eyes and give them hope that they may see again.

ASTRI’s CEO noted that digital healthcare is a core area of research for ASTRI. Through InnoHK’s ‘Health@InnoHK’ project, the agency will join hands with CEVR to provide treatment to many patients suffering from eye conditions and correct their vision, making this a tremendously meaningful collaboration.

Vision loss or visual impairment can be defined as reduced vision that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, surgery or medical treatment. Vision loss can broadly be classified into central loss and peripheral loss. Patients may have one or both types of loss.

Patients with central loss typically have difficulty recognizing faces, reading and seeing fine details. Patients with peripheral loss typically have difficulty navigating crowded environments and seeing obstacles on the floor and sides. Everyone responds differently to vision loss, and to the impact that it has on their life.

ASTRI and CEVR will jointly promote the development of a navigation system for people with vision loss in Hong Kong

People with impaired vision face many challenges with daily activities. While people with visual impairment may be aided by walking canes, guide dogs, and mobility training, moving safely through different environments such as community centres, shopping malls and health care facilities continues to present a major challenge, significantly impairing social interactions, wellness and overall quality of life.

The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Institute (ASTRI) and the Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) will partner to develop a comprehensive navigation system for people with impaired vision, it will remove mobility barriers for people with impaired vision and dramatically enhance their wellbeing.

ASTRI remains committed to promoting technological R&D in Hong Kong and working alongside various institutions and companies in developing innovative technologies. With the collaboration between ASTRI and CEVR, ASTRI’s IT expertise can directly apply the results of applied research from CEVR’s investigators and translate navigation technology and solutions to the digital health industry helping to improve the quality of life for people with visual impairment in Hong Kong.

CEVR’s CEO and Scientific Director stated that globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a near or distance vision impairment. In almost half of these cases, vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. CEVR gathers top researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Waterloo in Canada to collaborate synergistically, expand research, and make advancements in eye health and treatment. In working with ASTRI, the hope is to use AR technologies to increase the development of lazy eye patients’ 3D vision abilities and ultimately improve patients’ overall eye health.

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