“Almost everyone has some older relative or friend who is afflicted with AMD [age-related macular degeneration],” says Mike Bartlett, president of Vital Art and Science Inc. “In my case it was my father-in-law who went blind because of AMD. I saw first-hand that he lost so much when he lost his vision.”
Vital Art and Science’s MyVision Track could change the lives of people with retinal disease, but it’s been a long time coming.
Patients with retinal disease need treatment right away when the disease reactivates, but sometimes they don’t know it’s happening. MyVisionTrack’s simple test offers a series of questions where patients have to discern which of 3 shapes is distorted. If their eyesight is deteriorating, the app alerts them to see a doctor. This test was conceived by chief science officer Dr. Yi-Zhong Wang, a researcher at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute (NIH/NEI), myVisionTrack finished a “proof of concept” study in early 2011, followed by a 4-month clinical trial funded by Novartis and completed in December. With a $1 million grant from NIH/NEI, myVisionTrack is now moving toward a bigger clinical study focusing on diabetic retinopathy patients.
In the meantime, myVisionTrack’s application will be making its way to the desk of the FDA for approval in the United States and its counterpart in the European Union. They hope to start selling in December 2012 – first to drug companies to use in clinical trials.
“Our test has to be intuitive to learn, easy for the patient to perform at home, and accurate,” explains Bartlett, a former vice president at Texas Instruments, which supplied electronics for home blood glucose tests for diabetics. “It also has to operate reliably under a range of conditions in the home, be absolutely safe, and not require the user to perform any set-up or maintenance other than re-charging the battery periodically.”
Vital Art and Science is based in Dallas, and myVisionTrack will be showcased at our Tech Cocktail Dallas mixer this Thursday.