Beyond the Pitch
Sight4All Vision Improves Vision
Every startup has a vision statement. But Ohio State spinout Sight4All takes the idea of a vision statement to exciting new heights with a “vision,” not just for the company, but a “vision” for millions of children and adults worldwide who have trouble with their eyes.
“We are bringing new, safe, effective, and affordable improvements in vision diagnostics for licensed eye care providers,” said Steve Wallace, Sight4All president and CEO.
The first groundbreaking improvement from Sight4All is The Eye Scan App (called TESA for short). TESA turns an iPhone 6+ into two tools to help licensed eye care providers better serve their patients.
The patented technology was invented by Melissa Bailey, OD, PhD and associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
“We are finalizing our working prototype, algorithms and computations. We plan to be very active in building out our technology in the coming months.” Wallace said.
Matching gold-standard accuracy of autorefractors with an iPhone app
TESA on the iPhone 6+ can measure refractive error and eye alignment.
TESA will be provided only to optometrists and ophthalmologists with current state licenses and is in no way a substitute for a face-to-face vision and eye health exam by an eye care professional.
However, during those face-to-face exams, TESA can significantly improve the way eye care providers measure refractive error and/or eye alignment, offering quantifiable benefits to both patient and eye care professionals.
- Children and other special populations. Measuring eye alignment is especially important in children who may be having vision problems that they lack the vocabulary to describe. About one if every four children has some sort of vision problem. A significant percentage of those problems go undetected. It’s important to address these issues early when the opportunity to correct them is greater. TESA’s diagnostic tests can be performed on infants, the elderly, and other special needs patients who are difficult to evaluate with conventional equipment and methods.
- Mobility. An iPhone 6+ with TESA fits in a lab coat. Conventional Autorefractors are table-mounted, taking up 4-6 square feet of office space. TESA is used to measure a patient’s refractive error in less than one second per eye.
- Ease of Use. TESA uses an iPhone 6+ and no other equipment. With TESA, a licensed eye care provider uses the iPhone 6+ to take a picture of the eyes and TESA’s proprietary algorithms do the rest.
- Cost Advantages. Connection to the TESA app is free. Instead of the high fixed cost of conventional equipment, an affordable “per use” fee is applied.
Once TESA is released, imagine the potential in less developed countries for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and others.
“There are about 150 million people in the world who can’t see for the simple want of a pair of glasses,” Wallace said. “All of our shareholders feel that we have a responsibility to make this happen. An opportunity and a responsibility. The whole concept is highly motivational.”
Sight4All’s progress underscores Central Ohio’s Backyard Effect.
The story of Sight4All is the story of how the old ties of a college friendship and the potential of an exciting new technology–each born at Ohio State– came together and become one.
Sight4All is Wallace’s first startup. A CPA and retired corporate executive, he became engaged with Ohio State’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO), through his college roommate, Martin Murrer, who is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur in New York.
“This technology intrigued me from the beginning,” Wallace said. “About two years ago, I started to work with Dr. Bailey. We have formed a good partnership. Marty Murrer is the chair of our board. The founders and board members are all Ohio State graduates. A year ago, we signed licensing agreements with Ohio State, and we’ve been sprinting ever since.”
Sight4All has other backyard connections. Ohio Third Frontier awarded Sight4All $100,000 to develop the app. Rev1 has also invested.
Wallace has a message for other first time entrepreneurs.
“Don’t be scared of trying to get a startup going,” he said. “If you feel passionate about it, run the litmus test with some people you trust. If they say it’s a good idea, consider it. It may be an opportunity, or like with us, it may be a responsibility to do something that’s incredibly good for the human race.”
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