Portable device can quickly determine the extent of an eye injury

OcuCheck works by measuring levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye.

An engineer and an ophthalmologist are working together to develop a portable sensor that can quickly and inexpensively determine whether an eye injury is mild or severe. The device, called OcuCheck, works by measuring levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye. The sensor could speed efforts to determine the extent of eye injuries at accident sites, in rural areas lacking ophthalmology specialists or on the battlefield, the researchers said.

“The sensor takes advantage of the fact that the ocular tear film – the viscous fluid that coats the eyeball – contains low levels of ascorbic acid, which is just vitamin C, while the interior of the eye contains much higher levels,” said University of Illinois bioengineering professor Dipanjan Pan, who is creating the device in collaboration with Carle ophthalmologist Dr. Leanne Labriola. “So the concept is, if there is severe damage to the eye that penetrates deeply, the ascorbic acid will leak out in high concentration.”

Two postdoctoral researchers in Pan’s laboratory, Manas Gartia and Santosh Misra, helped develop the new sensor. The researchers report their work in the journal Scientific Reports. Read the full article.