Lazy eye’ glasses help kids overcome amblyopia
Israeli connection gets the job done
When Ben-Ezra tested a prototype of his invention on children at three Israeli medical centers several years ago, he found that compliance was much higher than with patches or drops. That makes parents happier, too. The positive results of the study were published in the Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, but the startup that was developing the product under the auspices of the Chief Scientist was plagued by financial and technical difficulties.
Ben-Ezra knows now that the technology needed for Amblyz didn’t really exist until 2010, and he found it through a uniquely Israeli connection. “Lucky for us, in parallel XPAND 3D was working on eyeglasses for cinema. And they had the technical abilities we needed. Their electronic shutters were better than those we could achieve with our modest means — the electronics and batteries are smaller, and the entire mechanism could be enclosed in the frame.”
But how was he to get the attention of a multinational entertainment technology company with no Israeli presence? Well, XPAND 3D Chief Strategy Officer Ami Dror happens to be Israeli. And he happened to be working at the time on developing medical applications for XPAND 3D, including glasses to treat lazy eye and motion sickness.
An introduction from a mutual friend got the two men together. “We had the technology ready to go, and he had the IP and clinical tests, so it was a perfect match,” Dror tells ISRAEL21c. “From XPAND’s point of view, developing a product like this without the medical community was challenging. The Israelis gave us that knowhow.”
Ben-Ezra became chief of XPAND 3D’s new medical division and licensed the technology and IP to XPAND. They’re off to a good start: A Turkish chain of optical stores has placed an order of 7,000 units.
“The health ministry is considering making Amblyz the official government-sanctioned treatment for Turkish children with amblyopia,” Ben-Ezra reports. “Now we are supporting XPAND in making Amblyz a worldwide success.”
Abigail Klein Leichman