Using photorefractive optics technology and experience developed in the Landsat and Skylab Space Telescope programs, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center innovators created an apparatus for detecting human eye defects. The innovators found that different eye abnormalities and diseases cause the eyes to reflect light in distinctly different ways.
Vision Research Corporation integrated the technology into VisiScreen, an ocular screening system, which takes a detailed, highly precise photo of the subject’s eyes. This photo is then analyzed to detect simple near-sightedness and far-sightedness as well as more serious diseases and eye abnormalities. The technology is ideal for detecting eye problems in young children because it is as fast as taking a photograph and requires no response from the child.
Vision Research has placed these systems in pediatric offices and health clinics throughout the United States and has tested over 1.5 million children in 10 states through mass screenings, typically provided free to schools and the students. In a statewide test involving 170,000 Alabama elementary school students, 10 percent were found to have eye diseases or defects requiring medical attention. The early and accurate identification of these eye abnormalities allows for proper medical attention and correction so students maintain good vision while pursuing their education.