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FDA Approves Israel’s Notal Vision ForseeHome For Use By AMD Vision Disease Sufferers

Israel’s Nortal Vision has developed a new device for home use which the elderly can use to monitor their eye sight.

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Founded in 2000 by ophthalmologists, Notal Vision develops better methods of detecting age related macular degeneration (AMD) that could allow doctors to treat patients at an earlier stage and possibly prevent any loss of sight. AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in adults over age 55, and destroys sharp, central vision, necessary for common tasks such as facial recognition, driving, reading, and watching television.

Now the company has received approval from the FDA to market its ForseeHome device. ForseeHome is the first such home eye monitoring device that people can use by themselves to have received such approval from the FDA and which has been clinically proven.

Patients check their vision once a day with the device. If they should see a statistically significant change in test scores, then both the patient and the doctor are notified immediately to schedule an appointment. If a change above the patient’s baseline is detected via computer analysis of the three-minute screening, Notal’s call center in St. Louis contacts the person’s doctor.

There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. The dry form is where the light sensitive cells of the eye’s macula slowly break down. It can change without any warning into the wet form where people become legally blind.

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According to Notal, studies show that the earlier wet AMD can be detected and treated, the better chance patients have at retaining good, functional vision. This allows patients to maintain driving and reading independence. Many wet AMD patients suffer irreversible vision loss by the time they are diagnosed. When using standard methods of CNV detection, only 13-36% of patient eyes have VA of 20/40 or better at time of diagnosis.

An ophthalmologist, Boaz Azmon MD is the company’s founder and CEO. He previously served as a partner with Accuitive Medical Ventures LLC and worked for Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center’s department of ophthalmology. In an interview Dr. Azmon said that, “At the end of 2009, we had done some small clinical trials and got FDA approval, and then the NIH [National Institutes of Health] approached us to evaluate our solution through a multi center longitudinal trial.”

Dr. Azmon received his medical degree from the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva. He says that thousands of patients already use the device.

There is no way to predict the change from dry to wet AMD on a day to day basis and so, Dr. Azmon explained, there is a need for regular home testing.

Notal’s other founder, Yair Alster, MD is its chief medical officer. Dr. Alster is the former head of the Ophthalmology Outpatient Clinic at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and has worked as a clinician and researcher in the field of retinal diseases. He also serves as the chief medical officer for Foresight Labs.

Notal Vision’s headquarters are located in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a U.S. office and distribution center in St. Louis, MO. Elron Holdings, an Israeli venture capital company specializing in starting Israeli high tech companies, funded Notal. They are currently marketing the device in America while looking for Medicare reimbursement for patients and expect to soon move into the European market.

ForseeHome comes with a complete easy to follow tutorial for its users.

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