Francisco Amparo (presently a student for the Executive MBA), the director of EYEnexo and a researcher at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear hospital, doesn’t want to get mixed up for the moment in the app stores market. “It’s inundated with low-quality apps that have no scientific basis,” he explains. EYEnexo has more than ten patents based on formal medical therapies, and the ones that are most highly developed are already being tested at the best hospitals in the United States, supported with grants from the federal government and by prestigious researchers and doctors.
The EYEnexo business model, which is based on licenses, is aimed at the institutional market: tools that solve large-scale problems in hospitals, clinics, schools or companies. For the time being, patients will use them at home only if a doctor recommends it. “Our algorithms are optimized so that the application can be used by just about anyone,” says Amparo.
The firm began with EyeTurn App, which automates and improves the Hirschberg test that is used to evaluate cases of strabismus (commonly called crossed eyes). “Most ocular deviations are imperceptible. In other cases they are intermittent and cause fatigue, headaches and difficulties in reading,” he says. In addition, EYEnexo currently offers treatment for convergence insufficiency (difficult in focusing both eyes at the same time) by using virtual reality. Its next objectives are the most common complaints or those that are often poorly diagnosed: amblyopia (lazy eye), dry eyes, glaucoma and refractive defects such as nearsightedness or astigmatism.
At present, EYEnexo has several products, but soon it will offer a more complete range. “With our system, even family doctors can make a quick diagnosis,” says Amparo.
He points out that these kind of applications, which automate diagnostic processes thanks to techniques like scanners, could save money in public health by anticipating treatments and speeding up diagnostic processes. Indirectly, they would prevent the loss of job productivity or a slowing in the development of children.
By Inés Dolz