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Video Eyewear Could Help Macular Degeneration Patients See Again

25 February, 2008 by Peter Verhoeven

Eyetonomy, the leading Video Eyewear manufacturer for medical applications, recently launches the portable video magnifier SightMate LV920. SightMate is wearable like glasses and helps people suffering from Macular Degeneration (MD) make the best of their remaining vision. Currently over 12 million people in North America are affected by MD.

SightMate is the first portable video magnifier combining advanced signal processing and the functions of several low vision aids in one device. In the past, patients have used a range of optical and electronic magnifiers to read, watch TV, meet family or do simple household tasks – but there never has been an all-in-one system. “Unlike the bulky and heavy video magnifier solutions commonly used, SightMate allows people with MD to be mobile and better maintain their quality of life,” says Dr. Fishman, an MD PhD ophthalmologist who consulted on developing the glasses. “Standard magnifying systems make reading and face recognition slow and strenuous and are not conducive to regular daily activities or a relaxed time with your family.”

People with MD have a blind or blurry spot in the central part of their vision. This is the area of vision people use to read, watch television, view faces, and do most focused activities. However, most people with MD still have their side, or peripheral vision. To use peripheral vision more effectively, the SightMate magnifies objects up to 12 times their size and improves their contrast and brightness. The portable battery-powered device has a miniature 2 mega-pixel optical-zoom camera inside that projects enhanced images onto two high-definition color screens inside the SightMate. Users can even connect external video devices such as DVDs and TVs to watch on their personal large screen.

With baby boomers now entering their senior years, the number of Americans affected by Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is currently expected to double by 2020. "All these people need portable and multifunctional low vision aids in order to sustain an active, high-quality lifestyle," says Eyetonomy CEO Paul Travers.

Source : Photonics Online

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