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Help CERA put an end to endemic eye disease in remote and regional communities

Just days left to vote to help CERA win $750K at the 2016 Google Impact Challenge.

The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) ― one of the top five institutes for vision research in the world― is a finalist in next week’s 2016 Google Impact Challenge and in the running to share $4.5 million in research funding to help improve people’s lives.

“Our project is a technology-driven and simple-to-use online solution for those who live far away from eye specialists,” said Professor Mingguang He, Principal Investigator at CERA and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne.

“It has the potential to help millions of people not only in Australia but all around the world.”

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Dr William Yan demonstrating the ‘Vision@Home’ system.

As a top ten finalist in the 2016 Google Impact Challenge, CERA’s project ‘Vision at Home’ has already secured $250,000 for research, but four of the ten finalists will receive a total of $750,000 and one will be judged through a people’s choice vote. The results will be announced on Wednesday 26 October.

“With your vote CERA could win $750,000 and translate this technology to community and population benefit,” Professor He said.

Dr William Yan worked with Professor He to pitch the project to Google and Dr Yan will be presenting ‘Vision at Home’ to Google on October 26.

“Vision at Home is an evidence-based software and algorithm that combines a webcam and internet to provide a method for patients to test their eyesight anywhere, instead of attending a clinic,” Dr Yan said.

“Visual impairment has a great impact on quality of life for many Australians but owing to our vast continent we don’t know where all the cases of eye disease are. We want to overcome that with technology.”

The largest challenge to preventable eye disease is the lack of access to eye care services in primary healthcare settings, particularly in regional, remote and Indigenous communities. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates over 600,000 Australians live with vision impairment, a number projected to increase to 1 million by 2024.

“94% of blindness or vision loss in Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable,” Dr Yan said.

“Vision at Home will bring accurate vision testing to areas with poor access and benefit groups with great potential for sight-saving interventions, including children, the elderly and Indigenous Australians. It will also be used overseas in remote locations.”

CERA plans to trial the technology with post-operative patients from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, with elderly and mobility-impaired patients across Victoria, and in schools across indigenous communities.

Voting is open until October 25 at  https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/australia2016/charity/cera

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Mark Pearce on mark.pearce@unimelb.edu.au or 03 9929 8705 or 0423 783 756.

 

 


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