SBIR and STTR Success Story for
Chadwick Optical, Inc.

(Information Posted/Updated on 07/08/2009)

Chadwick Optical, Inc.
PO Box 485
1763 Old River Road
White River Jct., VT  05001

Contact:    Karen Keeney
Phone:      802-295-5933
Fax:          802-295-3875
E-mail:      chadwickoptical@aol.com
Web Site:  http://www.chadwickoptical.com and http://www.hemianopia.org

Project Title:  Field Expansion Prism Glasses for Homonymous Hemianopia
Related Award(s):  R44 EY014723
Technology Developed:
High power prisms were incorporated into prescription eyeglasses for hemianopic patients. An array of inexpensive devices for fitting these lenses and screening hemianopic patients was also developed for use in the clinical trials incorporated into this SBIR.

Key Words:  hemianopia, hemianopsia, quadranopia, quadranopsia, visual field loss, peripheral field loss, Peli Lens, Peli Prism.
Uses of Technology/Products/Service:
Hemianopia, or the loss of peripheral vision on the same side of both eyes is a common side effect of stroke or traumatic brain injury and results in difficulty navigating the environment without injury or embarrassment to the individual. This condition affects about 1 million people in the US and prior to this research, no viable help has been available. The prism eyeglasses increase the individuals' visual field 20 degrees into the blind area by creating artificial peripheral vision which has proven helpful for mobility and obstacle avoidance. A set of temporary prisms and a fitting guide was also developed to help eye care professionals determine proper fitting placement for trial and to screen patients to see if they adapted to the prisms. The use of these prisms by hemianopic patients has (anecdotally) decreased their fall and accident rate and increased their quality of life. Many report that they have regained their driving privileges.

Benefit to Company:
Chadwick Optical provides custom eyeglasses for the visually impaired and we have little competition, although, as a company with less than $1mill sales, our marketing budget is limited to word of mouth and trade shows. This SBIR and the clinical trials incorporated in this Grant resulted in the publication of a peer-reviewed article in the Archives of Ophthalmology, May 2008 where we reported a 74% patient acceptance rate. This article and the mention of this research in professional courses and presentations has increased Chadwick Optical's visibility throughout the low vision community. Sales on the peripheral prism glasses and auxiliary products were negligable from April 2005 when the glasses were released through May 2008 when the Archives article was published. The Article has generated increased attention and from May 2008 thru April 2009 these products grew to 3% of our business. We anticipate this percentage to increase steadily as information is disseminated through the optical community via word of mouth, lectures, workshops and seminars. A license agreement has been signed with Schepens Eye Research Institute to manufacture and sell the patented Oblique version of the product. The SBIR program and Chadwick's participation in it has resulted in the recognition of Chadwick as force in the low vision field and has added to it's stature and 20% overall growth rate for the last 5 years.

How Product Was Commercialized:
The product, since its availability in April 2005, has been presented to low vision practitioners via word of mouth and trade shows. This resulted in limited success until the Archives of Ophthalmology article was published in May 2008 reporting a 74% patient adaptation rate. This gave the product credibility because professionals needed the clinical evidence to justify prescribing it. This product is an optical device that helps a neurological problem. Information regarding its use requires that it be brought to the attention of professionals in the field of neurology who deal with stroke and brain trauma. We have been exploring cost effective ways of spreading the word and have not been successful. In May, 2009 we are attacking this problem from a grass roots level via our www.hemianopia.org web site aimed at educating hemianopic patients and their caregivers about the product and directing them to eye care professionals who can fit them with the prisms. That strategy coupled with more seminars and lectures in the optical and low vision field should generate a steady growth in the use of these prism glasses.

Other Comments Related to Company's Success Story:
As we collect testimonials for our web site from hemianopic people who wear this device, we are encountering people whose lives have changed for the better. They are going back to work, driving, walking without fear of falling, becoming more independent and leading better and more fulfilling lives. When we hear these stories, we feel we are a very successful company that is working to change lives for the better...and succeeding.