New tool could help prevent AMD

Man undergoing sight test

A new instrument could be used by opticians to determine a patient’s chances of developing age-related macular degneration (AMD). 

Azul Optics is in the process of developing the ophthalmic instrument, which it says will enable the “rapid and cost-effective screening” of patients to determine their susceptibility to AMD.

The device was the idea of Dr Shelby Temple from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Science, and it is hoped that in the future the tool could be used in optical practices as a preventative eye health method in the same way that screening for retinopathy and glaucoma is used today.

Chief executive of Azul Optics, Joseph Cefai, said: “By screening for low macular pigment density, opticians could advise people to make lifestyle changes early that can help prevent the problem developing.”

Mr Cafai told Optometry Today that a prototype of the instrument has already been developed and evaluated by Dr Temple, with Azul Optics’ aiming to develop the tool and make it commercially available to opticians. 

Recognising the instrument’s potential, Azul Optics has invested £310,000 into the development project, while the Bristol Private Equity Club has provided £160,000 and the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund has boosted this further still with £150,000 contribution.

"We hope that with this funding we can bring the device to the market within 18 months," Mr Cafai added.