The worldwide demographic trends of aging and obesity will increase the global incidence of blinding eye diseases, which impose significant psychosocial and economic burdens. The leading cause of blindness in the developed world is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which causes the progressive loss of central vision. Because dry AMD, which exhibits gradual vision loss and constitutes most AMD cases, is currently untreatable, successful clinical management of AMD critically depends on monitoring these cases for the potential conversion to wet AMD. Timely detection of the rapid vision loss that marks the onset of wet AMD enables the early clinical intervention, via intra-vitreal injections, which is related with successful outcomes. To improve on current clinical standards for home-based visual monitoring (Amsler charts), we have developed a research prototype of a mobile Health (mHealth) application that enables rapid, reliable, and portable contrast sensitivity assessment. Relative to the Amsler grid and acuity charts, contrast sensitivity provides a better measure of the functional disabilities corresponding to the progressive stages of dry AMD. In the proposed Phase 1 project, we will demonstrate the feasibility for translating this research prototype into an easy-to-use mHealth application for home-based monitoring of vision loss. A user study to develop a user-friendly interface, testing standards, and refine tools for compliance, will be completed to determine the reliability of home testing, and its sensitivity to different stages of AMD vision loss.
Successful clinical outcomes for blinding eye diseases depend on the timely detection of vision loss, and monitoring of vision loss between clinical visits is critical for effective clinical care and prevention of blindness. The long-term goal of Adaptive Sensory Technology is to deliver rapid and reliable visual assessments that improve clinical evaluation and enable smaller and shorter clinical trials.