Visilant: Increasing Access to Eye Care through Community-Based Telemedicine
Program: Biomedical Engineering
Globally, 1.2 B people live with debilitating visual impairments. Vision loss is a devastating condition which leads to a decreased quality of life, reduced economic productivity, social isolation, mental health disorders, and reduced life expectancy. The majority of blindness and visual impairment, however, is preventable, as 80% of cases could be avoided with proper intervention. In low-to-middle income countries (LMICs), care is often delayed due to distance from eye care facilities, cost of travel, and lack of trained ophthalmologists (1:91,000 patients in India), leading to disease progression and vision loss. Thus, eye care systems in LMICs have a nearly insurmountable challenge: how to provide efficient, high quality, and low cost care to a large volume of patients who often present with complex, late stage symptoms, have limited ability to pay, and have minimal interaction with the eye care system.
Visilant is a digital health company spun out of Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) and Wilmer Eye Institute by a group of engineers, physicians, and entrepreneurs in order to help eliminate avoidable blindness globally and reach patients where current outreach efforts fail. Visilant is an end to end ophthalmologic care management system consisting of a low-bandwidth telemedicine platform and a proprietary, cost-effective ocular imaging device that enables eye care systems to efficiently and effectively screen and treat high volumes of patients in remote areas. For eye care systems, Visilant provides an accessible way to improve patient outreach and access to care, as well as optimize their resource allocation in strained areas. For patients, Visilant enables timely treatment and sustainable, longitudinal integration into the healthcare system. Visilant’s service is currently being used and evaluated by the largest eye care system in the world to diagnose, refer, and enable access to vision care to hundreds of remote communities in India.