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Eye with light shining on it. Optometry grant, David Crabb
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City academics to develop eye tracking platform for detecting and monitoring age-related eye disease

Grant will be used to refine and develop the proof-of-concept Eyecatcher computer program

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Optometry researchers at City, University of London have received £112,000 from Fight for Sight to develop an eye-tracking system for detecting and monitoring eye conditions linked to older age.

An increasing elderly population will cause an ‘epidemic’ of undetected age-related eye disease in the 21st century. As a result the research team believes there is a need for disruptive technology that will better test and monitor visual function in these people.

To help bridge this gap, the team – which is led by Professor David Crabb in the Division of Optometry and Visual Science at City – is continuing to refine and develop their proof-of-concept Eyecatcher computer program.

In a previous study Professor Crabb and colleagues showed that by tracking where people’s eyes move using the Eyecatcher software when watching TV they can identify whether they have glaucoma, an eye disease which can result in blindness, when compared with people who have healthy vision.

In the new project the team will test Eyecatcher on a larger group of people, with different types of films and different equipment under different conditions, to see how well it works. The team have eight different questions they want to answer, including whether Eyecatcher can pick up holes, or blind spots, in people’s vision. This wasn’t tested in the original study.

During the project the team will develop Eyecatcher Lite as an inexpensive version of the software to run on a tablet computer, and hope to make it avaliable for free if it is a success.

Professor David Crabb, Professor of Statistics and Vision Research at City, University of London, said:

“Whenever you look around a room or watch TV your eyes make quick jumps from looking at one place to looking at another. Our work might provide a platform for measuring these eye movements in order to better detect and monitor age–related eye disease. We are enormously grateful for the funding from Fight for Sight. Competition for the Fight for Sight project awards is fierce - only 6 were awarded after peer review of more than 70 applications this year.”

Visit Fight for Sight for more info

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.