For Immediate Release: US Markets – November 16, 2015
Looking to a Future of Better Bioptic Telescopes for the Visually Impaired, Ocutech Partners with Associated Optical of the UK
“We are thrilled to welcome Associated Optical as Ocutech’s new UK representative – Associated’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the UK and Northern Ireland will help low vision specialists more effectively support the vision needs of their visually impaired patients.”
– Henry A Greene, OD, FAAO, President, Ocutech, Inc.
US premier bioptic telescope developer, Ocutech, Inc. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has announced a new partnership with Associated Optical of the UK, enabling their modern telescopic low vision aids to be well represented in the UK and Northern Ireland. “With Associated Optical as partners, more people with impaired vision will be able to access the full range of innovative telescopic products developed by Ocutech,” says Dr. Henry Greene, President of Ocutech, Inc.
Both companies share a passion for finding solutions to aid the needs of the visually impaired. Dr. Greene, an internationally known low vision expert and telescopic low vision aid developer, presents courses on low vision clinical care throughout the world. Associated Optical presents industry-specific programs accredited by both the Association of Optometrists and the British and Irish Orthoptic Society.
Ocutech, established in 1984, is known for its innovative telescopic designs, quality optics, and the ease of fitting and prescribing of its products. It has created a wealth of training and support materials to enhance the clinical methods used for prescribing telescopic low vision aids.
Since its establishment in 1983, Associated Optical has been supplying the UK Optical market with both optical and electronic low vision aids. They are recognized as one of the leading suppliers of optical products in the UK.
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In the Media
Megan Dodd, 27, hasn’t been able to drive since being declared legally blind. With the help of The East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, she received a pair of Bioptic glasses that has allowed her to regain the vision needed to get her license back. Read Article
“In Steve’s situation, what he can see at 20 feet, the standard eye can see 200 feet away, ten times larger,” Optometrist Henry Greene said.
Albinism causes a range of challenges for individuals who are affected, not the least of which is visual impairment. Seeing at a distance, reading signs, the blackboard, seeing friends, the teacher, TV and driving can all be challenging. Regular eyeglasses or contacts are usually of modest value. Low Vision Aids which magnify the image allow many children and adults with vision loss to see virtually as well as their normally-sighted companions. However, the availability of low vision aids is not well known and children especially may not learn about them for years after they may have been beneficial to maximize their academic, vocational and social success.
In an attempt to increase awareness of the benefit of low vision aids for individuals with albinism, Ocutech, the developer of eyeglass-mounted telescopic devices for the visually impaired, sponsored an essay contest at the 2012 NOAH Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri in July. Attendees were invited to submit essays describing how low vision aids have impacted their lives. The winning essay by Haroon Ghori, a 16 year old high school student from Sacramento, CA was selected by a committee appointed by NOAH and received a $500 scholarship award from Ocutech. In addition, NOAH received an equal donation from Ocutech in Haroon’s honor.
In his winning essay, entitled “How Low Vision Aids Impact My Life,” Haroon describes how his low vision aids helped bolster his independence, successes, and ability to function as though he did not have a visual impairment. With their use he began to excel in math and reading, quickly rising to the top of his class in subjects he had previously done poorly in. He says, “Visual aids have played a monumental role in my physical and social life. Largely due to my use of visual aids, my independence and self-esteem have increased, therefore influencing my successes in academics, athletics, and extracurricular opportunities. Using visual aids has shown me that my albinism and visual impairment need not inhibit my success in any activity.”
Dr. Greene, who also serves as a clinical professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina, is an internationally-known researcher and developer in the field of visual impairment. He has been the principal investigator on National Eye Institute and Canadian Institute for the Blind funded projects to develop novel optical aids for those with macular degeneration and other visual disorders. With over $1 million in research grant awards, the devices developed are now prescribed worldwide and include the world’s only autofocusing bioptic telescope system.
The William Feinbloom Award is given once-yearly to a person who has made a distinguished and significant contribution to clinical excellence and the direct clinical advancement of visual and optometric service, and thus the visual enhancement of the public.
Local Inventor Honored for Telescopic Glasses Breakthrough
From the Chapel Hill Herald, Thursday, June 3, 1999 (UNC News Services)
CHAPEL HILL: The Canadian National Institute for the Blind presented its annual Winston Gordon Award Wednesday afternoon to a Chapel Hill-based company.
Inventors of the Ocutech AutoFocus Telescope, the world’s first self-focusing telescopic glasses for people with poor vision, received $15,000 in Canadian moneyand a2-ounce, 24-carat gold medal at institute headquarters in Toronto.
“This technology has enabled us to enhance the quality of life among people with vision loss resulting from such conditions as macular degeneration,” said Henry Greene, clinical associate professor of opthamology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “We’ve been able to help some people who have never responded before to conventional low-vision aids, and that’s by far the most gratifying aspect of our work.”
About 1,000 of the devices, which resemble half a small camera perched atop an almost standard pair of glasses, are now is use around the world, said Greene, principal investigator for the project that led to the invention. The first pair was fitted little more than two years ago, and the response has been “phenomenal.”
“It makes magnification much more user-friendly and more natural,” he said. “The work has also led us to a better understanding of the needs of the visually impaired and to predict who will benefit from these types of devices.”
A built-in telescope reflects an infrared beam off an object, a person or whatever the wearer looks at directly, Greene said. The beam triggers the world’s smallest stepper motor – weighing only a sixth of an ounce – to focus the lens almost instantaneously via a computer chip.
Students have used the device, called the AutoFocus Telescope System or Ocutech VES- AutoFocus, to see blackboards clearly for the first time. Older people report once again being able to read signs on buses and in supermarkets or watch birds in their back yards.
“Most people who are visually impaired need magnification devices to see distance, but many of the devices available are heavy and obtrusive and have to be manually re-focused,” said Fran Cutler, a Canadian National Institute for the Blind board member. The auto-focusing telescope “is comfortable because it’s light and convenient. with a monocular, I can see my son on the soccer field as long as he stays still. With the Ocutech VES- AutoFocus, I’ll be able to follow the play.”
“We are very pleased to receive the CNIB’s Winston Gordon Award,” said Jaroslav Pekar, an engineer who is president of Ocutech, Inc. “It is a technology that makes it possible for many people with low vision to re-experience or experience for the first time, vision that is close to natural.”
Established in 1988, the Winston Gordon Award for Technological Advancement in the Field of Blindness and Visual Impairment recognizes innovations that provide benefits or potential benefits to visually impaired people.
The institute, which serves more than 96,000 people across Canada, was founded in 1918 to help blind people and others with poor vision live as independently as possible. The U.S. National Eye Institute supports continuing research on the device.