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SEECAT Report Summary

Project ID: 339228
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Spain

Mid-Term Report Summary - SEECAT (Seeing through cataracts with advanced photonics)

During this first part of the SeeCat project, we made significant progress in all the planned tasks. Specifically, a new optical method to measure scatter based on optical integration was developed. This was applied in a study to determine the relative contribution of genes and environment in cataract. It was shown that heritability was limited, suggesting that both genetic and environmental factors determine the variance of ocular scatter in healthy middle-aged adults. The same instrument was used in the clinic being a better tool to determine the severity of cataracts. This would allow a better decision on he appropriate time to schedule cataract surgery.
The effect of scattered light in visual performance was also studied. In particular, the impact on color perception and in the performance of the accommodation mechanism.
A major goal of the SeeCat project is to develop techniques to overcome the effect of the cataract in ophthalmoscopes. Along this line, there was a major result: we developed the first ever single-pixel camera ophthalmoscope operating in the living eye. This device could be eventually used to obtain images of the fundus even in eyes with nearly opaque ocular media.
A new swept-source OCT has been developed to obtain 3D images of the lens. This will be used to obtain a detailed tomography of the lens opacities.
In addition, to these advances that were planned in the proposal, we have obtained other related results that were not originally expected. Some of them were so interesting that we decided to submit several patent applications. As a derivation of the instrument to measure scatter, we developed the first compact all optical instrument to measure the density of the macular pigment. This may have a potential clinical interest to track the progression of some retinal diseases. On the other hand, we suggested a new automatic approach to correct presbyopia (an age related condition in the eye) with optoelectronic variable focus lenses.

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