Vision screening device from University of Bristol uses thresholds of polarized light to assess the presence (or lack) of macular pigments in human eyes, a fast method to diagnose future vision problems.


  • Faster
  • Compact
  • Straightforward


  • Medical diagnosis
  • Medical treatment

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

The Challenge

Age related macular degeneration is an eye disease that can lead to incurable blindness. It is estimated that over 288 million people may be effected by the disease by 2050. Current screening methods for low macular levels, one of the main causes of the disease, are time consuming and expensive.

Innovation Details

The vision screening device, also known as an ophthalmic medical device, measures the presence of macular pigments in human eyes. The device is easily added to conventional eye tests and measures the response of the eyes to different thresholds of polarized light. These measurements can then be correlated to the quantity of mascular pigments present in the eye, which is an indicator of risk for vision loss later in life. With the results, patients can take preventative measures earlier in life, decreasing the probability of sight loss.

Biomimicry Story

Octopuses display bright patterns on their skin despite being colorblind (they are only able to see a shades of grey). What their vision lacks in seeing color is made up through their unique ability to detect polarized light. Octopuses use this polarized light to camouflage and hide from predators.