NEI to Fund for Development of High Resolution Retinal Imaging System

Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC), a leading provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products for adaptive optics (AO) systems, today announced that it has been awarded a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) from the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This grant will enable BMC and its research partner the School of Optometry at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana to develop an instrument that will enable high resolution retinal imaging of 95% of the population, providing significant advancement in the research and diagnose of eye diseases in the elderly.

The system being developed collaboratively by BMC and the School of Optometry at Indiana University will include a MEMS deformable mirror and an Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) instrument. This new instrument will be capable of providing sufficient wavefront corrections of the eye to image 95% of the population.

Vision loss among the elderly is a major health care problem. Older eyes are more susceptible to common age-related diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. In addition, health problems make the elderly even more at risk for eye disease, such as the case of diabetics who develop diabetic retinopathy.

Tissue-induced wavefront aberration cause image distortions which make it difficult to obtain a clear view of the human retina. Because of the large aberrations in aging eyes, the difficulty is compounded, making the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease in the elderly quite complex.

"As the first instrument to provide the combination of high resolution and high amplitude wavefront correction using a single deformable mirror, this new system will have tremendous implications for our elderly population, whose aging eyes have more aberrations and suffer from debilitating eye diseases," said Paul Bierden president of Boston Micromachines.

"We are pleased to have been selected by NEI for this distinguished grant and to continue our work with the extremely talented researchers at the School of Optometry at Indiana University."

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