|By Marketwire .||
|September 13, 2012 04:14 PM EDT|
NORTHAMPTON, MA -- (Marketwire) -- 09/13/12 -- Members of the Massachusetts District 33-Y Lions were able to view firsthand the fruits of their generosity when REBIScan, a Massachusetts startup focusing on the early detection and eradication of vision loss in children, visited the 33Y Lions of Western Massachusetts to showcase new sight-saving vision screening technology. Thanks to a formative donation made to the research lab of REBIScan co-founder David G. Hunter, MD, PhD, the Lions provided critical early funding to kick off the design and development of REBIScan's promising technology.
Dr. Hunter, who is also Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH), has devoted his career to the early detection and treatment of amblyopia, or "lazy eye," a condition that silently steals sight in up to 5% of children. More than 10 years ago Hunter and colleagues discovered how to instantaneously and automatically detect vision problems in children. The Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Foundation (MLERF) had supported early development of the technology, and in 2009 the District 33-Y Lions awarded Dr. Hunter's lab at Boston Children's Hospital $200,000 to translate the research advances into clinical practice.
At the event, held in the 33-Y Lions EyeMobile, REBIScan co-founders Justin Shaka and Dr. Hunter demonstrated how a layperson with minimal training can operate the device, known as the Pediatric Vision Scanner (PVS). Prototype PVS devices currently in clinical trials at centers around the country are proving to be remarkably accurate at detecting preventable vision loss in children as young as age 2. "It was the visionary support of the 33-Y Lions that helped us make those first steps toward getting the technology out of the lab," said Dr. Hunter. "We are moving closer to the day pediatricians -- and groups like the Lions -- will use the technology to help us eliminate vision loss through early detection."
Dr. Hunter's work and the work at Boston Children's Hospital, especially the development of his PVS, fit the Lions goals to help eradicate and prevent blindness perfectly. According to Jean W. Martin of Greenfield, Past District Governor (PDG) and Lions Orthoptic Clinic President, early grants from MLERF, including a donation from the 33Y Lions Orthoptic Clinic, enabled Lions from all across Massachusetts to have a part in the development of the PVS. She states, "The Lions of 33Y, Western Massachusetts, are excited they were able to provide Dr. Hunter with seed money to advance this technology, and provide a base for additional funding. The phase two prototype of the PVS is a milestone in helping to prevent blindness, and the Lions of 33Y look forward to testing the PVS in our EyeMobile."