FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEC 20, 2019
Petaluma, California – RetinalgeniX Technologies Inc. announced today its plans to spearhead an effective technology to aid in the treatment of blindness due to Diabetic Maculopathy (DM) worldwide. It is generally accepted that the only effective method, management, or treatment of DM is through early detection. Unfortunately, current patients only receive treatment for DM and other retinal visual disorders when the disease has caused significant loss of vision. With over 200,000 ophthalmologists and 200,000 optometrists worldwide, why is it that DM retinopathy is increasing rather than decreasing? The answer is simple – aside from not having a sufficient number of vision specialists to treat patients – there has not been an effective mechanism to screen patients the vast number of patients worldwide that is simple, efficient, cost-effective and available.
For a patient to have a valuable, meaningful examination that addresses potential diabetic changes within the retina, the patient needs to be dilated and seen by a specialist. The procedure is easier said than done and patients, as well as the physician, are challenged. Patients generally have to leave work or home with someone to accompany them for dilation of the pupil. The dilating drops are not comfortable, they distort vision, are not easily reversed or without complication (although rare) and can last for hours. On the physician side, to screen for DM, either by a primary care doc or specialist, the patient must be scheduled in advance and followed up upon by staff. This occurs at the doctor’s office while the patient’s eyes are dilated (20-45 minutes), only to await their turn in the office. The cost to the physician in time, resources, staff, and money vs. the yield for a screening is overwhelming.
On the other hand, if retinal pathology is discovered, additional therapy and follow-up visits (where the same procedure is repeated) is the rule (at least 3-4 times per year). Therapy is another issue altogether. Treatment regimens include ocular injections, laser treatment and specialized secondary procedures for complications of diabetes (i.e. glaucoma, ocular paralysis, stroke, etc). So what are we doing right and what are we doing wrong?
Two ends of the spectrum
Using China as an example, approximately 68 Million people are afflicted with Diabetic Retinopathy and potential blindness. The reason is based in a lack of efficient, cost-effective technological mechanism, accompanied by adequate numbers of eye care professionals to screen for Diabetic Maculopathy and treat the overwhelming populations of people involved. However, China is not by itself in this regard., Similar issues exist in India, Middle East, Indonesia, Africa, S.A., etc to name a few.
In the US, there are approximately 30 million people suffering from diabetes, with 7 million unaware that they have diabetes mellitus. 95 million are pre-diabetic. It is expected that by the year 2050 100 million people will have Diabetes Mellitus in the US and by the year 2030, 500 million around the world. There clearly are not enough eye care professionals to handle the current patient load let alone the future projected stats on the advancement of Diabetes Mellitus and its complications.
Why are we missing the urgency of potential blindness? The answer is simple: believe it or not, today’s technology leads one to believe that when you see your general practitioner, optician, optometrist, or even ophthalmologist you have a snapshot of the central retina 30-60 degrees of your eye which is normal you are somehow not afflicted with DM. That conclusion is incorrect. That is not where the pathology lies. The real diabetic changes start in the periphery of the eye (i.e. 200 degrees). That is what needs to be evaluated. However, to do that, a dilated exam is necessary with its attendant difficulties. The screening procedure is expensive, time-consuming, cumbersome, and ineffective. Culling out the normal with only a 60-degree retinal view misses the real target – the peripheral retina – and will only lead the patient to a false sense of security and ultimately a cost skyrocketing out of control.
Imagine a device that will examine up to a 200-degree field of view of the retina through a small 2-millimeter pupil without the need for dilation. These patients could be screened at a significantly reduced cost. Furthermore, imagine adding artificial intelligence whereby the retina is scanned and the photo has the ability to identify abnormal changes. This could allow the technician to direct the patient to the appropriate specialist at the touch of a button in seconds! Prevention and proper screening methodologies are the only cost-effective means to control advancing or impending blindness. This will then allow the specialists to devote his or her time to treat rather than to screen.
It is with the above background that RetinalGeniX Technologies Inc. so proudly announces the development of a truly cost-effective diagnostic camera system. The system is capable of viewing a 200-degree field of view of a patient's retina in seconds. In combination with artificial intelligence, it provides the ability to direct patients for further additional therapy that is both efficient, cost-effective, and practical. In fairness, there have been very sophisticated devices previously developed that can visualize the peripheral retina through a small pupil. However, such devices are bulky, have poor resolution, and cost over $100-200K for each device. It is cost averse when looking to treat large populations of patients who are afflicted with DM. It is clear, however, that for such a devastating disorder such as blindness, methods need to be improved such that DM can be contained, treated, and someday eliminated. RetinalGeniX offers a major weapon in our global battle against diabetic Maculopathy.
RetinalGeniX Technologies, Inc. 1650 N. McDowell Blvd. Petaluma, CA 94954