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Vision screening app for kids receives large funding boost

Vision screening app GoCheck Kids has received US$6 million (AU$8.5 m) in series B funding that will go towards further developing the company’s Amblyopia-detecting iPhone app.

GoCheck, which was co-founded by one of the inventors of OCT Dr David Huang, developed the first iPhone app registered with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is designed to help clinicians detect amblyopia risk factors in children too young for a visual acuity test, while also reducing the costs associated with clinical equipment.

Instead of a specialised device, the GoCheck Kids app utilises an iPhone’s cameras and bi-directional electronic health record integrations to scan for sight abnormalities.

"Instrument-based vision screening has proven effective in identifying vision issues in children, however, it is cost-prohibitive for many paediatricians"
David Huang, Co-founder at Gocheck

“Many childhood eye diseases, including amblyopia, myopia, hyperopia, and even retinoblastoma are not readily apparent or easily diagnosed by health care professionals,” Huang said.

“Instrument-based vision screening has proven effective in identifying vision issues in children, however, it is cost-prohibitive for many paediatricians. We are changing this dynamic by bringing paediatric vision screening into the digital age.”

After taking a picture of a child’s eye, a nurse can use the app to receive immediate information about the child’s vision, including if they need to see an eyecare professional for a full exam.

According to the company the app is already used by 4500 paediatricians, and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Huang said he is most excited about the app’s electronic health record integrations.

“By connecting the paediatrician and paediatric ophthalmologist we can use AI and deep learning techniques and tools like Apple’s ARKit and CoreML to increase effectiveness and potentially get better referral criteria than even the collective ophthalmology wisdom,” Huang said.

Tennessee-based investment firm FCA Venture Partners led the latest round of funding, among other investors.

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