1 in 3 people will lose their sight by the age of 65. Recent studies have stated that the number of people suffering from visual impairment is 67 million in Europe alone. For most of these conditions which include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, there is no cure. GiveVision, a company based at the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network’s Serendip® incubator, has developed a low vision aid that helps visually impaired people to see again.
The low vision aid is a clinically validated medical device called SightPlus. The electronic glasses project light into the working part of the patient’s retina and restores the ability to see. This was demonstrated in a recent study conducted by Moorfields Eye hospital where SightPlus improved visual acuity to near perfect vision in all but one patient.
Since 2016, over 400 patients have taken part in GiveVision’s SightPlus trials and the device has been featured numerous times in the media including on BBC Click. Maisy McAdam, who lost most of her sight at the age of 16 due to a brain tumour, tried SightPlus at the Hay Festival. Both Maisy and the audience were brought to tears as they realised that SightPlus amplified her very restrictive sight and allowed her to see more than just a tiny blurry circle in her right eye. Her experience went viral on social media after being seen by more than 1 million people: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/technology-48501600/goggles-give-back-sight-to-maisy-so-she-can-read-again).
To hear more about how the technology is transforming lives the lives of visually impaired patients and the support that WMAHSN has provided GiveVision, we spoke to Stan Karpenko their CEO.
“SightPlus is currently in the hands of many visually impaired patients across the country, ranging from children studying at school, to athletes, veterans and the elderly,” he said. “Our mission is to amplify this and expand our reach, making our technology accessible and available to all those that need it. The WMAHSN has been instrumental in helping us work towards our goal. As well as assisting us with fundraising, they have aided us immensely by offering continuous invaluable advice, introducing us to the right people, and meeting key stakeholders. This is hugely beneficial and can save a great deal of time for those who, like us, are working hard to breakthrough to the NHS.”
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