250 million people around the world suffer from vision loss due to uncorrected refractive errors. Two years ago, Yaopeng Zhou and Marc Albanese of Smart Vision Labs set out to change that. They hope to solve a major global issue: lack of access to quality vision care.
Together, they developed a pocket-sized device that attaches to a smartphone, allowing doctors to test a patient's vision by taking photos of his or her retina. They're then able to generate a prescription and deliver eyeglasses on the spot. The eventual goal is for non-specialists like general practitioners and organizational volunteers — anyone trained to use the device — to be able to conduct eye exams for people in areas with limited access to vision care.
The groundbreaking technology caught the attention of Verizon, which awarded Smart Vision Labs $1 million in funding as the Health winner of Verizon's Powerful Answers Awards. Within six months of winning the award, the startup was able to send the device to Guatemala and Haiti and test it among local residents. "To actually see our device being used, it really made it all come home for me," says Albanese. "These last two years have really been worth it." Watch the video to learn more.
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