By Samantha Denefrio, PhD
What the company does?
Oculogica has designed a tool, the EyeBOX, to quickly and accurately identify the presence of a concussion in people from 5 to 67 years old immediately after injury. “Concussion is a condition that has been plagued by the lack of an objective diagnostic tool which, in turn, has helped drive confusion and fears among those affected and their families,” says lead investigator Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD ( NYU press release)
What is the EyeBOX
A concussion is a brain injury resulting from a blow to the head that impacts normal brain functioning and affects memory, speech, balance and many other functions (American Association of Neurological Surgeons). When it comes to concussions, on the football or soccer field, or after an accident, rapid diagnosis is key to recovery.
Created by neurosurgeon and research scientist, Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD, the EyeBOX is a device that can be used after a blow to the head to detect a concussion. It looks more like a sophisticated exercise machine you would find at the gym with a TV screen attached rather than a medical device. It measures cranial nerve function by tracking eye movements on a computer screen. After suffering a blow to the head, the patient watches a short film and, based on the way his or her eyes move, the presence of brain injury is established within 4 minutes.
According to its website: “With EyeBOX, testing is simple, requiring test subjects to place their head on a chin and forehead rest, and watch a video for less than four minutes. There are no literacy or language fluency requirements or even an ability to follow directions other than to watch TV.”
Why it’s innovative and what problem does it solve?
Following a brain injury, swelling occurs that can lead to a concussion. It is estimated that as many as 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries present to ERs across the US annually and that anywhere from 2 to 3.6 million sport-related concussions occur each year (CDC). Concussion symptoms can be subtle and take up to 24 hours to appear (CDC). In addition, cognitive tests used for evaluating disorientation from a concussion often require prior testing to create a basis for comparison (Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth). Another problem faced by medical professionals is that concussions often don’t show up on MRI or CT imaging scans right away, which can delay diagnosis and intervention. Yet, these tools remain the gold-standard for evaluating brain injury. Oculogica is trying to change that with EyeBOX. EyeBox “collects and analyzes over 100,000 data points across 67-domains of eye movement to generate an objective assessment of concussion that is unique to each patient.”
Following impact, the degree of swelling can affect the ability of the cranial nerves to control movements towards and away from objects in the world. The EyeBOX capitalizes on this effect by tracking eye movements in reaction to movements on a screen during a short film. Abnormal eye movement indicates a concussion.
Although it is only currently authorized by the FDA to detect the presence of a concussion, EyeBOX and technology like it has the potential to change the speed and accuracy of concussion diagnosis. With advances in eye-tracking, physicians will be better equipped to rule out traumatic brain injuries from neck injuries and other conditions such as inner ear damage, whose symptoms may mimic a concussion.
In the future, EyeBOX may help to make it possible to diagnose concussion virtually immediately on the field at any sporting event.
Oculogica has received a total of 7.3M in funding with the most recent round raising 5M in August, 2018 from Golden Seeds Angels (Crunchbase).
Who it’s for?
Children, adults, athletes, military–anyone who experiences a head injury in which concussion is suspected.
Where you can buy?
For now, EyeBOX is only available to physicians in the United States to be used in clinical settings and no price information is being disclosed by the company at this point. But, you can follow the latest research here: http://www.oculogica.com/publications-2/
Where will I see it?
The EyeBOX may be arriving to your local hospital very soon. As of January 3rd, 2019, the FDA has granted marketing authorization for EyeBOX use in ages 5 to 67. For the latest on this click here: http://www.oculogica.com/news/
Fact Sheet and Details
Funding (According to Crunchbase)
Total Funding: 7.3M
Aug 28, 2018
Angel Round – Oculogica
Golden Seeds Angels $5M
Mar 17, 2016
Logo of Venture Round – Oculogica
Venture Round – Oculogica $1.7M
Jul 21, 2014
Logo of Seed Round – Oculogica
Seed Round – Oculogica $600K
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