Uncovering vision loss before we know it ourselves

Undetected Vision Loss is a project supported by Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak. Stakeholders from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are collaborating to develop and optimize screening procedures to detect and treat vision loss before the affected individuals are aware of it. The goal is to provide faster, better, and more cost-effective treatment.

The primary aim of the project in the short term is to generate new knowledge through the testing of solutions that impact people's eye health and thereby improve their quality of life. The development of technology that enables advanced eye exams to be conducted at an optometrist's office or even at home, rather than requiring a visit to an ophthalmologist, can significantly reduce healthcare costs. Over time, the project aims to contribute to new strategies for detecting visual impairments.

About the Project

"Undetected Vision Loss" is a project supported by Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak within the innovation and entrepreneurship sector. Multiple stakeholders from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have formed a multidisciplinary collaboration focused on user-driven innovation. The project aims to develop and optimize screening procedures to identify and treat undetected vision loss before the affected individuals are aware of it. Participants from Norway include Sørlandet Hospital Health Trust (Sørlandet sykehus helseforetak)and Eys.

Based on Norwegian Technology

The project leverages a technological platform for planned eye examinations, analyses, and data exchange developed by the Norwegian company Eys AS. Eys offers an operational telemedicine data solution for clinical collaboration in ophthalmology, the study of the eye and its diseases. This solution enables asynchronous telemedical collaboration between optometrists or other healthcare professionals, ophthalmologists, and hospitals. Eys thus provides a technological platform for innovation in ophthalmology across Europe.

Comprehensive research incorporating health sciences, economics, and sociology is being conducted to assess the cost-benefit of planned interventions to map undetected vision loss in people aged 75 and older. Recruitment for the project will also occur through home care services.

  • Can diagnostic accuracy be maintained using Eys and mobile retinal cameras for elderly individuals living at home?
  • What proportion of people "in the field" have undetected vision loss, and what eye diseases do they have?
  • Can images taken "in the field" be sent to an eye department for a correct diagnosis?
  • Can home care workers measure visual acuity satisfactorily?
  • Is a subjective assessment of visual quality as good as an objective measurement in the elderly?

Participants and Impact

Participants are being recruited in Denmark and Sweden. The project's work and outcomes will benefit users and stakeholders in all participating countries, generating new knowledge about eye health and vision loss. The innovation aspect is also gaining momentum, with a significant part of this happening in Norway.

Sørlandet Hospital's Role

Sørlandet Hospital Health Trust is involved in the project's steering group, given the hospital's experience in exploring how people with visual field loss can benefit from commercially available electronic glasses. Harald Reiso, a doctor at Sørlandet Hospital, notes that these electronic glasses, designed for those with normal vision, have the potential to aid individuals with visual field loss. This is an excellent example of using existing technology in new applications.

Reaching Those Who Do Not Seek Eye Care

The project aims to extend vision screening to residents already in contact with the healthcare system due to age or other illnesses but who do not seek out an eye doctor or optometrist themselves. Several health technology solutions have been developed to make vision screening simple and accessible. For instance, many ophthalmologists use handheld, user-friendly mobile cameras. The Norwegian diagnostic system Eys facilitates the easy transmission of screening results directly to ophthalmologists and is becoming widespread among optometrists in Norway.

There is significant potential for prevention through cross-border collaboration as well as between public and private sectors to apply and disseminate innovative solutions to sectors where healthcare professionals are already in contact with the target group of elderly citizens, who are most at risk of vision loss.

Importance of Early Detection

Early identification of vision loss can result in fewer individuals living with the consequences of vision impairment. Early treatment can help ensure functionality and independence, increasing the well-being and quality of life for the affected individuals and their families. The new solutions are expected to be particularly beneficial for people living far from treatment facilities, aiming to create better equality in access to diagnosis and treatment.

Goals: Faster, Better, and Cheaper Treatment

The project aims to develop and test solutions that can contribute to earlier detection of vision loss, leading to better treatment outcomes. There will be a focus on business and user involvement in all phases of development. The goal is to improve people's quality of life and explore potential healthcare cost savings.

For health technology companies in the involved region, the goal is to increase the focus on technologies that can promote eye health. This could potentially increase the demand for products and services that can detect and alleviate vision loss earlier than before.

Please read more at: https://interreg.no

Originally written by Liv Randi Lindseth
Translated by Caroline Kverne