Eye care tech company looking to expand in Asia

Eye care company oDocs Eye says it will launch a $500,000 capital raise this year to help fund its expansion plans into Asia.

The company, which had recently set up a branch in Borneo, now has its sights set on the Japanese market and says it is progressing talks with a Japanese contact lens company to help gain a foothold in the country later this year.

ODocs chief executive and co-founder Hong Sheng Chiong said the company was exploring opportunities with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, angel investment groups and equity crowdfunding companies to help it raise funds.

The Dunedin company had used an innovation grant of $US100,000 ($NZ156,000) received from the Dubai World 2020 to help it set up its Borneo branch.

Dr Chiong said a team had recently returned from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, where it had helped screen about 300 people and raise awareness about eye health.

“There is a social stigma about being blind or visually impaired in Sarawak and prejudice against the blind.

“We have empowered them with a new set of diagnostics equipment and trained them on how to use it effectively. This would allow them to screen for diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, which is getting more prevalent among the global population nowadays.”

He said oDocs had also successfully trialled a new retinal camera which could capture the image of the retina without any pharmacological dilation.

Dr Chiong said the camera allowed images of the retina to be acquired within seconds and patients did not suffer from any side effects of dilation.

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He said the camera was also smaller and cost about a fifth of a modern fundus eye camera.

“Most of the conventional fundus cameras are table-top bulky machines that are not really portable. They are costly and not something a primary care provider or emergency department could easily afford,” Dr Chiong says.

ODocs was established six years ago by Dr Chiong and ophthalmologist turned World Cup rugby referee, Ben O’Keeffe.

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