Dr. Yi-Zhong Wang Develops Test to Track Macular Degeneration
Dallas, Texas – (August 2011) – Dr. Yi-Zhong Wang, a research scientist at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest has developed a test that allows patients who have macular degeneration to track their vision changes at home. He partnered with a Dallas company named Vital Art and Science to make an iPhone app called myVisionTrack(TM) with his test. The test and device are so promising for tracking vision changes in macular degeneration that pharmaceutical companies and clinicians have been eager to jump on board. For example, Dr. He at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Dr. Wang and Vital Art and Science collaboratively developed the technology for myVisionTrack(TM) which is used as an iphone or ipad application. The device displays three circles on a screen, one of which is markedly different from the others. Patients cover one eye, then touch what they perceive to be the odd shaped circle on the screen. With each click, the differentiation becomes more subtle. Macular degeneration leads to a profound change in ability to perform on this test. The test is then repeated with the other eye. Results are stored in the device so patients do not have to memorize the scores. If a significant vision change is detected, patients are instructed to see their ophthalmologist.
Vital Art and Science Inc. was awarded a $1million dollar grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund from the State of Texas for the development of a handheld application capable of diagnosing and monitoring age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy utilizing the technology developed at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest.
RFSW will receive research funding from Vital Art and Science Inc. to further this technology.
"The Texas Emerging Technology Fund continues to be a critical tool to help develop and bring to market innovative technologies with the potential to change lives not just here in Texas, but across the U.S. and abroad," Gov. Perry said. "Vital Art and Science 's technology will provide an accurate and cost-effective monitoring solution for the millions around the world who suffer from macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, and will help physicians treat these age and vision-related diseases."
Dr. Wang co-founded Vital Art and Science with Dr. He, ophthalmologist at UT Southwestern, Dr. Khang Zhang, professor of computer science at UT Dallas, Mike Bartlett, former Executive Vice President at Texas Instruments and Dr. Bill Krenik, Chief Technology Officer at T.I. Wireless Business Unit.
Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans age 60 and older, and combined with diabetic retinopathy, affects more than 40 million people around the world. The Retina Foundation of the Southwest tested patients with the device in an 8 month clinical study funded by the National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute. Dr. He at UT Southwestern was also a part of the clinical study with his patients.
Click here to learn more about the at-home vision test.