Preventing strokes by looking in the eye? This sounds futuristic, and yet something similar is already possible today. Our retinal vessel analysis devices allow the examination of the function of the microvessels in the eye and thus enable conclusions to be drawn about various diseases.
The task now is to exploit the great potential of the products – together with strategic cooperations and sales partners. Read here the whole interview of our managing director Dr.-Ing. habil. Walthard Vilser with the journalists of WIRTSCHAFTSFORUM:
Dr.-Ing. habil. Walthard Vilser, CEO and co-founder of Imedos, summarizes what the devices from his company are all about: “We use the eye as a diagnostic window for vascular medicine. With our devices, we offer a non-invasive simple method that allows conclusions to be drawn about the functionality of the vessels in the microcirculation area (the smallest vessels in humans) and thus the health of the patient.”
Its field of application is by no means limited to ophthalmologists, he emphasizes: “With further research and a more global view, we can also address many other faculties of medicine, such as cardiologists, neurologists or nephrologists.”
Back in GDR times, the engineer of measurement, control and biomedical technology had already headed an interdisciplinary working group in the eye clinic of Friedrich Schiller University, which researched microcirculation in the retina in cooperation with the Technical University of Ilmenau. “Originally, the aim was to measure blood flow in microvessels of the eye. The question of vessel diameter arose quite quickly,” he says.
Imedos GmbH emerged from the working group in 1996. It developed a way to measure the previously little-known regulations of the microcirculation through the vessels of the eye and to draw conclusions from changed values. Walthard Vilser explains the principle: “This microcirculation of the blood in the vessels is subject to regulation by contracting or expanding vessels. As a result, the blood vessels constrict or dilate when, for example, blood pressure rises or falls. So if the vessels in the eyes aren’t functioning as they should, that means the risk of vascular disease is very high.”
Unique for dynamic measurements
To detect such changes, dynamic measurements, i.e. measurements over a certain period of time, are necessary. Imedos has therefore developed devices for dynamic analysis in addition to medical technology for static analysis, which measures vessel diameter and calculates vessel parameters. “For our DVA device for dynamic vessel analysis, we use flicker light. It is our flagship and unique worldwide”, Walthard Vilser makes clear. The product has been on the market since 2010 and is now in its third generation. So far, sales have targeted research institutions and clinics in particular.
However, the managing director also wants to bring the device to the practicing physician. In this context, he points to the now significantly reduced price: “The first devices were still in the six-figure range. In the third generation, we can offer prices in line with the market. ” The goal is also to deploy the products worldwide.
Utilizing potential for prevention
While there are other devices and competitors on the market in the field of static measurement, the Jena-based company, which currently employs 15 people, is unrivaled in the field of non-invasive dynamic measurement. “To take our device to the next stage, we need an investor to help us gain broad market access,” says Walthard Vilser, who sees “gigantic potential” in them. “Diseases can be detected much earlier thanks to our screening technology.”
For the future, he can also imagine new digital services for his company. “For example, measurements could be taken from measuring devices set up at various locations, for a small fee, and we could evaluate them,” he explains. What is clear to him is that Imedos will continue to build on its more than 20 years of expertise in the field of vascular health. “We focus on solutions that are preventive, i.e., that not only allow for a cure, but also prevent the disease in advance.”