One small device to make a big impact

The future looks a little brighter for people suffering eye health problems as Professor Bill Morgan and the Lions Eye Institute’s Physiology and Pharmacology research team take a step closer to realising the development of an exciting new device they have been working on for more than two decades. The device, known as OcuLinx™, will change the way cerebrospinal fluid pressure is measured in people across the country, overseas and even in space. The hope is to reduce the need for the overly invasive and risky procedures used currently – such as drilling a hole in the head or putting a large needle into the back.

Aleksandar Vukmirovic, Research Engineer at the Lions Eye Institute, with the Hon John Quigley MLA and a prototype of the device.

The result is a non-invasive, handheld prototype that is now being developed for commercial use by the Institute’s Aecona Pty Ltd, and in close consultation with Professor Morgan. A recent State Government Innovation Seed Fund grant of $500,000 will kickstart the development of the device, however Professor Morgan said philanthropic support was crucial, especially in the early years. “I am grateful for the support of a number of donors, over many years, which has enabled the team and I to continue our innovative research,” he said. “Without that support, we would still be asking the same questions we were over 20 years ago.”

Did you know?

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bathes the brain and spinal cord, flowing up and around the optic nerve. CSF pressure, also known as intracranial pressure, is the pressure in that fluid space. Raised intracranial pressure is a concern in patients with head trauma, brain tumour or stroke and can cause damage to the brain and the optic nerve. It can also cause complications from glaucoma and idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Currently the only way to measure intracranial pressure is through particularly invasive methods such as intracranial or lumbar punctures.

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