An Israeli company is conducting research on a device that measures tear film, a thin fluid layer covering the ocular surface that may aid in the detection of Covid-19 disease through a simple eye test.
The tear film is a thin fluid layer that covers the ocular surface and is responsible for the comfort of the eye’s surface, mechanical, environmental, and immune protection, as well as epithelial health. According to the Jerusalem Post, it also forms a smooth refractive surface for vision.
The purpose of the research is to determine whether the Tear Film Imager (TFI) device can “effectively diagnose and determine Covid-19 in a fast, affordable, non-invasive assessment of the eye’s tear film”, the company Advanced Optical Methods (AdOM) announced late on Thursday.
“The world urgently needs new diagnostic tools to help assess and diagnose aggressive viruses in a non-invasive manner and with speed and efficiency,” AdOM CTO Raanan Gefen was quoted as saying.
The TFI device is a non-invasive piece of medical equipment that measures mucins (proteins that hydrate the tear ducts) as well as the lipid sub-layers of the eye, which keep the eyes from drying out due to evaporation.
The diagnostic device has a resolution depth of a few nanometers and can provide clinicians with a detailed assessment of the health of the tear film sublayers in less than 40 seconds.
The device can also detect and quantify the presence of a “virus layer” in the eye. According to the report, it was able to correctly identify corona in patients at the same rate as a PCR test in a previous concept study at Wolfson Medical Center.
“Different SARS variants, as well as aggressive flu variants, are threatening the world population. If proven to have a high correlation to the PCR, this could be a game-changer,” Gefen said.
Gefen noted that the TFI device could then be used as a point of diagnostic care in a variety of settings, including airports, sporting arenas, and businesses seeking a simple, non-invasive test to determine the status of entering crowds.
The new study will build on the concept study by comparing the use of the TFI to PCR diagnostic testing on a larger scale. According to the report, the study will follow 500 patients over the course of 30 days.