Health technology company RightEye gets rights to digital eye-tracking tests for autism, Parkinson's

By Heather Mack
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Bethesda, Maryland-based , a health technology company that makes a cloud-based eye-tracking technology system and software, announced it has acquired the exclusive rights to two eye movement tests: one that aids physicians in quickly identifying early stages of autism in children 12 to 40 months old, and another to detect Parkinson’s disease in all ages.

RightEye’s proprietary software works by detecting eye movement as patients are shown a video, sometimes wearing 3D glasses. The eye tracker is attached to the bottom of a large gaming screen, which reads eye movements so the software can interpret the reactions and generate an instant electronic report that is sent to the physician. The tests take a few minutes, and each scenario requires the patient to follow graphics on a screen. Some tests are as simple as a moving dot around a circle, but others are complex and require more involvement from the patient in order to test reaction time.

The new tests will provide faster results to conditions that can often take many doctor visits, a lot of paperwork and a barrage of tests to figure out what the issue is.  Once the test is complete, the doctor can simply look at it the report sent to their email on any device.

“Acquiring these tests has implications that reach far beyond our business,” Barbara Barclay, RightEye president, said in a statement, “as our eye movement technology will now enable parents, patients and providers to get reliable and objective answers they need, when they need them, anywhere at a lower cost."

The autism detection test is called GeoPref, works by detecting the eye movement of children as they watch a video of geometric shapes. According to the clinical studies the tests are based on, children without autism will spend more time looking at the videos that contain faces. In clinical trials, the test has resulted in identifying one in five case, RightEye reports.

“In developing the GeoPref Autism Test, my goal was to make it easier, faster and more affordable to identify toddlers at risk for autism,” Dr. Karen Pierce, the developer of the test and an autism researcher said in a statement. “By partnering with RightEye, I knew that I would be able to make my tests more accessible to health care providers and parents of young children seeking answers about an often misunderstood and late-diagnosed disorder.”

The company’s other new test, for Parkinson’s, was developed by a neurologist and researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University’s the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It identifies and assesses patterns of eye movement that are affected in patients with movement disorders (including Huntington’s disease and Essential Tremor) and is more accurate and much faster than traditional diagnostic methods.

The two new tests are expected to be available in early 2017 through the RightEye platform, which was launched this year and also offers a series of eye-tracking tests and training ranging from a tests to help doctors get a clear picture of the severity of patient head trauma, a vision test for general eye health and a vision test specifically for athletes and defense forces that can be used to improve performance levels.