NASA Technology Enables Vision Screening for Millions of U.S. Children

Photo courtesy of Vision Research Corporation.

As any parent knows, it can be a challenge for young children to sit still during an eye exam, let alone respond to a series of questions about what they are seeing. In the case of infants and pre-verbal children, the challenges are nearly insurmountable. And yet, studies have shown that one in ten school-aged children has a correctable vision problem. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could invent a quick and easy vision screening system that didn’t require a response from the child being screened?

Thanks to a technology transfer effort between NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Vision Research Corporation, based in Birmingham, Alabama, this vision for vision testing has become a reality. The VisiScreen™ Ocular Screening System (OSS-C) has enabled over 4 million young children in the U.S. to receive screenings for eye conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, cataracts, and amblyopia (or “lazy eye,” the leading cause of preventable blindness in children). The technology is simple, non-invasive, fast as a snapshot, and requires no response from the child.

Photo courtesy of Vision Research Corporation.

NASA’s photorefractive optics research, originally developed for use in space telescopes in the 1970s, underlies this highly successful, large-scale screening technology. Nearly four decades later, parents of young children can thank their lucky stars for quick and easy vision screenings.

This is just one of many spinoffs from the space program that have an impact on our daily lives. For more of these stories, check out NASA’s yearly Spinoff magazine.

Contact us to learn more about the ways Fuentek supports NASA’s technology commercialization and licensing activities.

VisiScreen is a trademark of Vision Research Corporation.

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Posted by Karen Hiser

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