OUI Inc. will utilize the Smart Eye Camera (SEC), a smartphone attachment ophthalmic device, to reduce the number of people who are blind in Asia and Africa and contribute to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2025, which will include;
- Providing eye care to 10,000 patients in 100 medically underserved areas
- Building a model of telemedicine by local ophthalmologists to underpopulated areas
- Collecting information on ophthalmic diseases in the target area and submitting research papers on epidemiology
- Training of 1,000 local doctors and medical staff in eye examinations
|Issues to be solved ||Cataracts and other eye diseases |
|Product / Technology / Service ||Smart Eye Camera (SEC), a smartphone attachment which is a diagnostic device for Ophthalmology |
|Approach ||Product promotion, service development, research and education |
|Target country / area ||Asia (Vietnam, India, etc.), Africa (especially Eastern Africa) |
|Target year for achievement ||2025 |
|Scale of the business ||In the first year, the pilot project will be implemented on a scale of 5-10 million yen. Subsequent projects will be set up based on the results of the pilot project and local conditions. |
|Partner ||Local medical institutions, NGOs, international organizations, and pharmaceutical companies |
|SDGs relevant target || |
3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
3.c Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development and training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States
3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
17.16 Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
The world's blind population, which currently stands at 36 million, is expected to rise to 120 million in 30 years' time by 2050. Many of these people are believed to be in poor/rural areas in developing countries where access to healthcare is difficult, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the prevention and promotion of blindness as one of the core challenges to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
On the other hand, more than half of the causes of blindness are caused by eye diseases of the anterior part of the eye, including cataract, most of which can be overcome with proper diagnosis and treatment. Onchocerciasis, a neglected tropical disease, is also known to cause anterior eye disease leading to blindness. In addition, many children in poor/rural areas of developing countries suffer from visual impairment due to preventable eye diseases such as congenital cataracts and childhood strabismus.
OUI Inc. is a Japanese medical startup founded by the ophthalmologists from Keio University School of Medicine, developing and deploying Smart Eye Camera, a smartphone attachment device to diagnose cataracts and other ophthalmic diseases with equal function to the existing slit-lamp microscopes, in order to help reduce the number of people who are blind and visually-impaired worldwide. This is the first ophthalmic device in Japan to use a smartphone camera and light source, and its equal function to existing devices has been scientifically evidenced. SEC will make a significant contribution to the prevention of blindness worldwide by bringing SEC to poor communities in developing countries suffering from difficulty in access to eye healthcare.
With a vision to reduce global blindness by 50% through the SEC, OUI Inc. has started operations with local partners not only in Japan, but also in the countries such as Vietnam, Mongolia, Zambia, Malawi and Kenya.
Purpose of the project
OUI Inc. aims to provide eye diagnosis and corresponding medical services through SEC in Asia (Vietnam, India, etc.) and Africa (especially Eastern Africa) in collaboration with a variety of partners, including local medical institutions, NGOs, international organizations and pharmaceutical companies. The data collected through this project will be used to develop models of telemedicine and to conduct epidemiological research. OUI Inc. also aims to increase the capacity of local doctors and medical staff engaging in eyecare service in developing countries through technical training.
Detail of the Project (How can this project address global health challenges?)
1. Providing high-quality diagnosis to patients suffering from eye diseases with the corresponding medical services to 10,000 patients in 100 medically underserved areas
In collaboration with local medical institutions, international organizations, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies, OUI Inc. will bundle diagnosis through SEC with medical solutions such as the provision of medications and cataract surgeries to 10,000 patients in 100 under-served areas who have not previously had access to eye care.
2. Building a model of telemedicine for underpopulated areas in collaboration with local ophthalmologists
In the target areas the number of ophthalmologists is small and they are concentrated in urban areas, while most of the patients suffering from blindness and visual impairment are residents in rural areas. Through the activities stated in 1.OUI Inc. aims to build a remote diagnosis model with which the ophthalmologists in city areas can diagnose patients in rural areas, and hereby to secure sustainable access of patents in the rural areas to eye healthcare.
3. Collecting information on eye diseases in the target area and submit a research paper on epidemiology
Ophthalmic images recorded through the SEC can be identified with the locations of the diagnosis by using the GPS function of the smartphone. Through the activities stated in 1., OUI Inc. will obtain epidemiological information on ophthalmological diseases in underdeveloped areas of the country, which were previously a black box, and will submit the results as a research paper. By identifying which diseases are prevalent in which regions, the paper will contribute to the development of strategic and efficient support activities for global eye health activities.
4. Training 1,000 local doctors/medical staff in eye diagnosis using SEC
In emerging and developing countries where the number of ophthalmologists is limited, capacity building of local doctors and medical staff is an important issue. Making it possible to share the same image on the screen at the same time together, SEC is expected to contribute to the training of local and young/less-experienced ophthalmologists/medical staff. In collaboration with local medical institutions and aid organizations, we will train 1,000 local doctors and medical staff to improve the quality of eye care in the target area.
Timeline or milestones by the achievement of the commitment, KPI for monitoring activities
The pilot project will be completed and baseline finalized between January 2021 and December 2021, and progress will be monitored with the following KPIs as outputs of the activities
- Number of patients diagnosed by the SEC
- Number of patients provided medical solutions, such as eye drops/medicines and cataract surgery, after diagnosis by the SEC
- Number of medical doctors and medical staff trained by the SEC
- Establishment of new remote-diagnosis system
- Research Paper Submission
Precondition for achieving the commitment
- Acquisition of external funding: Pilot project implementation costs (approximately 5-10 million yen) and subsequent operating costs (approximately 100 million yen) to achieve commitments
- Approval of SEC as local medical device in the target countries
- Approval as medical device of the SEC itself, ophthalmic diagnostic AI created using SEC data and SEC databases created using epidemiological information, by internationally established authorities (e.g. FDA/CE)
< Background information >
- World Health Organizatoin (WHO), World Report on Visionhttps://www.iapb.org/wp-content/uploads/world-vision-report-accessible1.pdf
- International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB ) Vision Atlas http://atlas.iapb.org/
- Bourne RRA, et al. Lancet Glob Health. 2017https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2214-109X%2817%2930293-0< Scientific evidences of SEC by OUI Inc. >
- Shimizu E, Ogawa Y, Yazu H, Aketa N,et al. "Smart Eye Camera": An innovative technique to evaluate tear film breakup time in the murine dry eye disease model. PLoS One. 2019 May 9;14(5):e0215130.
*SEC’s Evidence from basic research
- Yazu H, Shimizu E, Okuyama S, et al. Evaluation of Nuclear Cataract with Smartphone-Attachable Slit-Lamp Device. Diagnostics (Basel). 2020;10(8):E576. Published 2020 Aug 9.
*SEC’s evidence from clinical studies (evaluating diagnostic accuracy of nuclear cataract)
- Shimizu E, Yazu H, Naohiko A, Yokoiwa R, Sato S, Katayama T, Hanyuda A, Sato Y, Ogawa Y, Tsubota K. Smart Eye Camera: A validation study for evaluating the tear film breakup time in dry eye disease patients. Ocul Surf. 2020. Under review.
*SEC’s evidence from clinical studies (evaluating diagnostic accuracy of dry eye disease)
- Shimizu E, Yazu H, Naohiko A, Tanji M, Sakasegawa A, Nakayama S,et al. Cataract diagnostic artificial intelligence from video and machine-learning. NPJ Digit Med. 2020. Under review.
*Evidence for diagnosis AI developed by SEC (diagnosis AI of cataract)
Company: OUI Inc.
Person in charge: Shintaro NAKAYAMA, VP of Global Business
E-mail: p.shintaro “at” ouiinc.jp
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editor：All contents including photos provided by OUI Inc.