Catanostics - Non-Invasive Early Stage Cataract Diagnosis & Severity Quantification tool

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Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

University: Heriot Watt University

Sector(s): Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences

About Opportunity:

With an ageing global population and increasing incidence of Diabetes in the general population, both major contributing factors to cataract, early diagnosis of cataracts is a major global healthcare issue. Currently, the only method for treatment of cataracts is surgical removal of the lens of the eye and replacement with a prosthetic (plastic) lens.

The diagnosis, treatment and aftercare of Cataracts costs tens of billions of healthcare dollars annually with the decision to “operate/ don’t operate” based on a somewhat subjective analysis using a slit lamp apparatus (showing haze from the lens as indicative of cataract), the experience of the ophthalmologist examining the lens of the eye and interpreting the severity of the cataract accordingly.

Our Cataract Analysis and diagnostics approach (aka CATANOSTICS®) provides an alternative to the slit lamp and will offer improved, non-subjective diagnosis of Cataracts, their severity and stage of operability (no/ too early/ review/ operate) offering potential savings in healthcare.

Building on our previous research in Fluorescence spectroscopy imaging and follow on funding through UK Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept scheme (MRC CiC), we have developed a bench top prototype demonstrating our approach on both Porcine donor and Human donor lenses. The MRC CiC results from donor lenses confirm our initial published research and provide a basis for a diagnostic test determining both the presence and severity of Cataracts.

Key Benefits:

  • Quantitative approach to cataract diagnosis - alternative to slit lamp
  • Supports surgical decision making process on cataract severity
  • Non-Invasive Fluorescence based measurement of the eye lens
  • Alternative to the Slit Lamp diagnosis
  • Provides data on presence, severity & distribution of cataract


  • Management of Cataract - Diagnosis, monitoring & surgery etc.
  • Clinical Ophthalmology & Ophthalmic Research
  • Ocular Research - Ocular drug development & testing
  • Research - diseases of the eye & lens

IP Status:

GB Priority patent application filed (December 2013) to Heriot-Watt university covering the method & apparatus of the Catanostics® approach.

Proof of Concept is proven and the approach has been demonstrated within a UK Medical Research Council CiC funded project on porcine lenses and also human donor lens material.

Further development of the prototype is underway within an EU funded program called “CATACURE®” to develop a non-invasive treatment for cataracts.

Catanostics® and Catacure® technologies are supported by Heriot-Watt Institute of Biochemistry, Biophysics & Bioengineering providing bio-molecular imaging expertise (Profs Duncan & Smith) and Prof Baljean Dhillon (Edinburgh University / NHS Scotland Cataract Surgeon) advising on clinical ophthalmology.

Journal publication -

Commercial Opportunity - Heriot-Watt now seeks licensees, research collaborators and investors who see utility in the applications of this technology.


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