Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Creates Tool to ‘Translate’ Images for AMD Patients

amsler grid

Back in 1998 Walter Kohn won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his development of the density-functional theory” and so you could say that his background is not necessarily the most appropriate one to be contributing to help patients with age related macular degeneration, and yet he has.

After his wife was diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Mr. Kohn decided to put his brain to work and find something that would help his wife and other AMD patients cope with the visual limitations of the disease. His invention is nothing short of extraordinary – and yet simple; he has created a ‘translator’ of sorts that helps patients ‘straighten’ images in order to make them viewable.

Mr. Kohn used the Amsler Grid to explain his invention. AMD patients suffering from the early stages of the disease will see the lines distorted – bent and twisted – usually around their central vision scope. His invention allows patients to use a mouse to pull the virtual lines until he/she sees them straight again. Next, these corrections are used to create a pattern for that patient and software will perform a dynamic compensation – distorting the image based on the patient’s pattern – that will allow him or her to see that image without much distortion. The same technique has been used to create a slab of optical material (using the same distorted pattern) that can be held as a magnifying glass and used to read offline material.

Kohn is currently working with the Institut de la Vision in France to be able to put this device and program in the hands of every early-staged AMD patient.

Would you use this product if it was made available for AMD patients? Do you think it’ll work?

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