University of Arizona awarded $1 million to help fight vision loss

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It all started in a lab at the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. Assistant Professor Dongkyun Kang came up with the idea of ​​a portable microscope that can diagnose corneal ulcers.

“What our device can do is take a look at the patient’s cornea in situ and visualize the cell structure,” Kang said. “They can then tell what type of problem is causing the corneal ulcer. Then the doctor can initiate treatment.”

The National Eye Institute has invested $1 million in Kang’s idea, which it says will provide a faster, cheaper and less painful diagnostic experience for patients.

“The existing method is very expensive, so we are developing something affordable,” Kang said.

Kang’s hope is that the affordability of his device will bring appropriate diagnostics to more rural communities.

“Globally, there are approximately 4.3 million people who experience vision loss or impairment related to corneal ulcer,” Kang said.

Kang teamed up with Jaya Chidambaram, a former lecturer at the University of Manchester in the UK. They aim to test the device in clinical studies around the world.

“Maybe in 10 or 20 years, every eye doctor will have one of our devices and will be examining patients’ corneas in very high resolution,” Kang said. “It can really help patients in terms of diagnosis and treatment.”
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