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OKKO Health announce collaboration with the University of Plymouth to measure vision in extreme environments including space

OKKO Health, a leader in innovative eye health technology, is excited to announce its collaboration with the University of Plymouth. This groundbreaking project will test eye health and track early disease detection in extreme environments, beginning with the depths of a cave and soon to monitor astronauts’ vision in the vastness of space.

The monitoring of astronauts’ health is a critical concern in space travel due to the hostile health impact of microgravity. In space, cerebrospinal fluid pressure increases upwards towards the brain. This pressure causes effects in the eyes and vision that can be measured and monitored. Insights into the impacts of long-duration space missions on astronaut brain health can be gained through sensitively measuring eye health.

OKKO Health has reinvented the eye test by creating a smartphone app that measures vision across multiple dimensions. The app uses simple puzzle games designed to collect a wealth of data, providing a deeper understanding of a person’s eye health.

“Current eye charts, while great for prescribing glasses, fall short in detecting and monitoring eye diseases early. Static, black-and-white letters don’t capture the full picture of how we actually see the world,” says Dr. Oehring, Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth. “OKKO’s app has the potential to transform eye care by better capturing how we see and providing deeper insights into the eyes’ function. We would like to thank Azores CAMoes for sponsoring this important project.”

In preparation for launching OKKO’s app into space, it has been put to the test in another extreme environment: deep within a cave. The app was used in pitch-black conditions, where researchers were isolated from the outside world and faced challenges similar to those experienced in space, such as confinement and limited equipment. This unique setting allowed assessment of the app’s robustness and effectiveness in measuring visual perception in extreme conditions. This marked the first time that vision has ever been assessed to this level of detail in an extreme environment.

The OKKO app was designed for use outside of eye clinics, to enable accurate measurements of sight and to enable eye monitoring at home. By testing OKKO’s app in extreme environments, scientists can validate its effectiveness and reliability in particularly unusual conditions. The research team will use learnings from how vision responds to microgravity and the visual effects of altered intracranial pressure to better understand, detect and monitor neurological conditions back on earth.

Stephanie Campbell, CEO of OKKO Health, expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “We are delighted to be invited to partner in this groundbreaking research. The insights gained will undoubtedly lead to advancements in eye care for people everywhere. This collaboration truly puts the UK on the map for vision science space research.”


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