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MBIE funding for new computer-based vision test for young children

08 October 2015

Funding of $1 million over two years from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, has recently been gained for a project to develop a computer-based vision test for young children.

Eye problems that occur in early childhood can affect the development of the brain areas that are responsible for sight and cause lifelong visual impairment.  At the same time, many of the eye problems that affect young children can be treated effectively, however detecting these problems is challenging. Young children find it difficult to complete standard tests of vision because these tests require high levels of attention. Many tests also involve recognising shapes and letters and are therefore not suitable for young children.

To address this problem, Dr Jason Turuwhenua of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Auckland is leading an international group of researchers in developing and testing a new computer-based vision test suitable for use with children as young as 2-years old. Based on detecting the presence or absence of the optokinetic reflex, an involuntary movement of the eye that occurs when a moving pattern is visible to the observer’s eye, the funding of $1 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, will allow the team to develop software to automate the measurement and analysis process, and deploy the device in ophthalmology and optometry clinics in New Zealand and internationally.

International team:

The project is a multi-institutional and international partnership between the University of Auckland, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, United States, the University of Waterloo, Canada, the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong and Callaghan Innovation.

 

University of Auckland:

Dr. Jason Turuwhenua, Auckland Bioengineering Institute/School of Optometry and Vision Science

Prof Steven Dakin, School of Optometry and Vision Science

Dr Shuan Dai, Dept of Ophthalmology

 

 

Prof Ben Thompson, University of Waterloo/University of Auckland

Dr Oliver Thompson, Callaghan Innovation

Dr Evan Hirst, Callaghan Innovation

Prof Eileen Birch, Retina Foundation of the Southwest

Dr Lily Chan, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong