Vivakor, Inc. (OTCBB: VIVK) announced that the National Institutes of Health-National Eye Institute has awarded a grant to Vivakor, Inc. in Coralville, IA through the Small Business Innovation Research Awards.
Vivakor will use the grant, which was also acknowledged by the Senior United States Senator from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, to help fund a vision research project entitled, “Development of a digital photo-refractor (DPR) to detect amblyogenic risk factors.” The Small Business Innovation Research Awards - Phase I help establish the technical merit and feasibility of proposed research and development efforts that may ultimately lead to a commercial product or service.
Vivakor’s VivaSight is a digital photo-refractor device that will modernize screening of children for ocular disorders. This type of screening is increasingly being required by State governments in the kindergarten population. In addition, the VivaSight device is in the final stages of a clinical validation study being conducted at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in the prestigious and top-ranking Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. Vivakor’s focus on the development of a vision screener for children, at a time when early detection is critical, complements the array of diagnostic, surgical, pharmaceutical and general consumer products being developed by larger companies such as Alcon (ACL), Allergan (AGN), Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) and Abbott Medical Optics, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abbott (ABT), that have become well-established in the eye care products for children. Like many of these companies which are developing outreach programs to promote vision care in third world countries, Vivakor’s VivaSight technology will be easily integrated into these outreach programs in developing countries. Vivakor believes that the DPR eye screening market potential will be $50,000,000 per year.
Data from the National Eye Institute (NEI) states that 2.3 million children have undiagnosed eye disorders that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye”, is the leading cause of monocular vision loss in the 20+ age range. It causes more vision loss than diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. “Early detection of these conditions is critical in developing treatment regimens and strategies for these children in order to prevent monocular blindness and mitigate other potentially long term adverse conditions” said Vivakor CEO, Dr. Tannin Fuja, PhD. Dr. Fuja continues, “Vivakor is proud of its achievements in this area and we are honored to receive this grant to assist us in furthering our development of this critically necessary tool.”
Vision Screening is widely regarded as the future of vision healthcare in the United States. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians endorse routine vision screening, beginning in early childhood. Preschool vision screening is especially important because it allow for the early detection and treatment of amblyopia. Also, the American academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) backs mandatory preschool vision screening in every state.
The DPR project described herein was supported by Award Number R4EY019198 from the National Eye Institute. The content of the news release is solely the responsibility of Vivakor, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Eye Institute or the National Institutes of Health.