New tech could detect blinding diseases much earlier

Monday, June 14, 2021

A non-contact laser imaging system developed by Waterloo Engineering researchers could help doctors diagnose and treat eye diseases that cause blindness much earlier than is now possible.

The new technology is designed to detect telltale signs of major blinding diseases in retinal blood and tissue that typically go unseen until it is too late.

With current testing methods, diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma — which have no symptoms in their early stages — are usually diagnosed only after vision is irreversibly affected.

“We’re optimistic that our technology, by providing functional details of the eye such as oxygen saturation and oxygen metabolism, may be able to play a critical role in early diagnosis and management of these blinding diseases,” said Parsin Haji Reza, a systems design engineering professor and director of the PhotoMedicine Labs at Waterloo.

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