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University of Tennessee Space Institute researchers make clinical trials a virtual reality
Date:8/30/2012

Clinical trials can be time-consuming, expensive and intrusive, but they are also necessary. Researchers at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma have developed an invention that makes clinical trials more efficient by moving them into the virtual world.

Called "digital Eye Bank," the computer software eye modeling program includes data from people's eyes for researchers to use when testing their inventions. Developed by Ying-Ling Chen, research assistant professor of physics and Jim Lewis, professor emeritus in physics, Eye Bank can take data from eyes of patients' and build it into models from the commercial optics program to be used for researchers' virtual clinical trials.

A video about the invention can be viewed by visiting http://bit.ly/Osuxia.

"The idea of Eye Bank is to use existing clinical data and build in realistic and personalized eye models stored in a ready-to-use tool kit like a group of volunteers," said Chen. "Then we can call on any specific eye to test a newly designed optical instrument on the computer and see what kind of performance the design gets. This testing can be done repeatedly without hurting real human subjects."

Currently 35 eyes with various demographics and conditions from Wang Vision Center in Nashville are included in Eye Bank. This variety, combined with the researchers' control of conditions, may allow results of testers' finished product to be more refined before advancing to the real clinical trial phase, which is administered by a third-party.

"Being able to mathematically and computationally describe the visual response of normal and abnormal eyes and sub-groups of the population allows for optimal results of designing the technology," said Chen.

In most clinical trials used today, the types and conditions of eyes that are studied are not as varied as desired because it is difficult and expen
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Contact: Whitney Heins
wheins@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert  

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