University of Essex researchers eye top award for their opticians’ equipment

Opticians - Pic Lucy Taylor

Opticians - Pic Lucy Taylor

A piece of optometric equipment that has transformed the lives of patients by making it easier for them to read has been short-listed as product of the year in annual awards run by the Association of Optometrists.

The Colorimeter Curve, designed by Professor Arnold Wilkins, an Emeritus Professor from University of Essex’s Department of Psychology, and Dr Martin Colley from its School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, helps opticians to pinpoint the coloured tint best suited to alleviate the symptoms of visual stress, which can include headaches and visual distortions that interfere with reading.

Professor Wilkin’s original mechanical design, which has been in use for 25 years, has now been updated to an electronic version, thanks to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Cerium Visual Technologies, the Kent-based company that makes and distributes the equipment.

Professor Wilkins claims that about one in five people experience visual stress. “People with migraine, autism, stroke or head injury are more likely to experience the symptoms.

“In many cases these symptoms can be reduced by placing a coloured overlay onto text, or by wearing coloured lenses in glasses. The Colorimeter Curve has been a game-changer in helping opticians pinpoint the particular tint best suited to an individual’s needs.”

Claire Millar, Director of Technical Services at Cerium Visual Technologies, added: “Winning product of the year at the AOP Awards would be more than simply a tremendous accolade for Cerium Visual Technologies. As a small UK based manufacturer, it would be a game-changer. The company was honoured to be shortlisted for its ground-breaking Intuitive Colorimeter ‘Curve’ alongside some fantastic products from some incredibly well-respected and recognisable industry names, and our small team can’t wait for the results to be announced in January 2019. Huge thanks to the KTP and the team at University of Essex”

University of Essex is the leading university in the East of England and London for KTPs, which are funded by Innovate UK.

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The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday 13 January