Scots scientists in breakthrough for blind children
Health experts from Glasgow have teamed up to create a software programme that allows parents to see through the eyes of their poorly sighted children.
A Glasgow medical team has picked up an award for a piece of software which is set to revolutionise the lives of children with impaired vision.
The cutting-edge technology – called Sight-Sim – measures a child's eyes and creates a digital image of the child’s field of vision.
Experts at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde say the invention will allow parents, teachers, and doctors to see the world through the eyes of children with visual impairments.
Sight-Sim was devised by Professor Gordon Dutton, a paediatric ophthalmologist at the Royal Hospital of Sick Children at Yorkhill. Top health scientists in Glasgow then took his idea and designed the computer software.
Professor Dutton explained: “This can be life-changing for children because the beauty of this system is that it is tailored to every individual, this has never been done before.
“Eye care professionals spend a great deal of time and effort measuring vision and expressing it in numbers, and then send out letters to parents and teachers with information which they may not fully understand.
“Pictures are a very good tool for getting information across to people.
“This software, whether on a computer screen at home, in a doctor’s clinic or in the classroom, can simply reveal what the child actually sees after the adult has inputed the measurements contained in the letter.
“At school a visually-impaired child can take longer to complete exercises and homework and that leads to them staying behind to catch up.
“It’s not because they can’t do the work, it’s because the text and pictures need to be bigger, but not everyone recognises this.”
The unique system has already received a prestigious Medical Futures Innovation Award.
And doctors hope the software will allow adults to take account of individual children’s sight capabilities and adjust the layouts of their homes and schools to help improve their lives