Navigation Links
Rice bioengineering students' invention may help diagnose painful eye condition

Rice University bioengineering students responded to an ophthalmologist's cry for help with a device to diagnose dry eye, the itching and burning sensation that results when a person doesn't produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly.

A team of five seniors made a portable unit that controls the air around a patient's eyes so doctors can study and treat those who suffer from this painful condition.

Stephen Pflugfelder, the James and Margaret Elkins Chair and professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine's Cullen Eye Institute, approached Rice to invent a device to help clinicians standardize a testing regime for dry eye.

"He wanted a way to control temperature, humidity and air flow all around the eyes and record it over time so he could track changes in their dryness," said Daniel Hays, a member of Team ClimaTears, the student group that included Austin Edwards, Amanda Shih, Anastasia Alex and Michelle Kerkstra.

The students' solution incorporates a modified and padded set of laboratory goggles with embedded data sensors that monitor temperature, relative humidity, air flow and blink rate over an hour and a half. A cable carries data saved every 10 seconds to a small box that includes controls and conditioning equipment. A separate hose carries air to the goggles.

The goggles keep the humidity of air around the eyes between 40 and 15 percent -- "about as low as we can go without hurting patients," Alex said.

"We're exacerbating the symptoms so doctors can see them," Hays explained.

Normal patients will produce tears, he said, but those who suffer dry eye will exhibit symptoms, which will give clues about how to treat them. Follow-up sessions with the goggles will let doctors see how well the treatment is working.

"With this, we're putting the power in the hands of clinicians, which is very appealing to them," Shih said.

"We did a lot of research on the ocular test they currently perform to help us analyze the data we collected," Alex said. "We know there's still a lot to be done."

"We hope our device will create a gold standard for diagnosis," Kerkstra said.

The team and Pflugfelder spent two weeks this spring testing patients at the Alkek Eye Center in Houston and will continue this summer. The students hope the larger trial will lead to an academic paper -- a fine reward for spending nearly 2,000 hours developing the goggles over the course of their final year at Rice.

Their work has already paid dividends. The students won the grand prize, $1,500, in the second annual Rice Alliance-George R. Brown School of Engineering Senior Design Elevator Pitch Competition last November, and more recently $500 for the Best Health-Related Engineering Design Project at the School of Engineering Design Showcase held April 14.

The team's faculty advisers were Renata Ramos, a Rice lecturer in bioengineering, and Maria Oden, professor in the practice of engineering education and director of Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, where the goggles were developed.


Contact: David Ruth
Rice University

Related biology news :

1. Bioengineering with vetiver grass on Guam
2. Massachusetts General Hospital Center Reignites Methods in Bioengineering Conference
3. Siebel Foundation awards top UC San Diego bioengineering graduate students
4. UC San Diego bioengineering professor trey ideker wins 2009 Overton Prize
5. Phage hunting students publish in PLoS ONE
6. Ben-Gurion University students develop thought-controlled, hands-free computer for the disabled
7. Engineering students win International Environmental Design Contest
8. Louisiana Tech University students receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
9. AACR awards AACR-Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award for Undergraduate Students
10. Horticulture students link problem-solving to employment
11. Engineering students win award from National Clean Energy Contest
Post Your Comments:
(Date:8/15/2017)... --  ivWatch LLC , a medical device company focused on improving ... of its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard for medical device ... (ISO®). ... Monitoring device for the early detection of IV infiltrations. ... "This is an important milestone for ivWatch, as it ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... PARIS , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ... the international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will ... deliver value in various industries. ... in the international market, with a 30 percent increase in ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 ... just announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication ... exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These ... smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group and ... finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work ... which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one ... with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced ... network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will ... to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education ... professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and are ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new study ... in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The ... IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that ... Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los ...
Breaking Biology Technology: