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Centre for Eye Research Australia is a top 10 finalist in prestigious nation-wide Google Impact Challenge

The Centre for Eye Research Australia—the leading eye research institute in the country—is one of the top ten finalists in the 2016 Google Impact Challenge. The initiative supports innovation within not-for-profit organisations that are using technology to address social challenges world-wide.

Professor Mingguang He, Principal Investigator at CERA and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne, and his PhD student, Dr William Yan, the University of Melbourne, successfully pitched ‘Vision At Home’—an evidence-based software-based algorithm that, combined with a webcam and the internet, provides a method for patients to test their visual function anywhere with a computer, webcam and access to the Internet, rather than attending physical testing locations.


Dr William Yan successfully pitched the ‘Vision at Home’ project, which put CERA in the top 10 finals of the Google Impact Challenge.

The Vision At Home (V@Home) project will address the lack of access to vision testing for Australians living in rural and remote communities.

“Our visual acuity self-assessment system will provide a way for rural, elderly and mobility-affected Australians to remotely test their eyesight from home,” says Professor He. “Unlike the current VA testing method, requiring patients to be physically present at a clinic, or other testing software that is inaccurate, our system allows for operator-free remote testing that is more accurate than ever before, when the testing distance is accurately measured and monitored by validated feature recognition technology.”

Visual impairment has a great impact on quality of life for many Australians. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimate that over 600,000 Australians live with vision impairment, which is projected to increase to 1 million by 2024. 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.

“94% of blindness or vision loss in Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable,” says Dr Yan. “V@Home will bring testing to areas with poor access and benefit groups with great potential for sight-saving interventions, including children, the elderly and Indigenous Australians.”

Through the Google Impact Challenge in Australia, Google.org is giving $4.5 million to Australian non-profit innovators with big ideas for a better world. A judging panel will select three winners to receive AU$750,000 grant funding each, and one additional winner will be selected based on public voting. The remaining six finalists will each receive AU$250,000 in funding for their project to help turn their ideas into a reality. The four winning projects will be revealed on 26 October.

“We know good ideas combined with technology can help to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. Ten Australian not-for-profits have been selected as finalists in the latest round of the Google Impact Challenge for their outstanding ideas to use technology to make an impact on important causes,” says Alan Noble, Director of Engineering, Google Australia.

The public voting window is open from October 4 to October 25. Cast your vote for the Centre for Eye Research Australia at g.co/australiachallenge and help spread the word to your friends and family.


Media Inquiries
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Professor He or Dr William Yan, please contact:
Evelyn Derus, Communications Advisor
+61 3 9929 8705