VSP Global Partners with Eye Care Technology Startup Vizzario
Collaboration Underway to Develop Tech-Driven Vision Care Tools Utilizing Eye-Tracking Technology and a Vision Analytics Platform
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., April 11, 2016 – VSP Global has announced a $2 million investment with Vizzario Inc., a California-based startup, to develop eye care technologies to track visual acuity, eye strain, traumatic brain injury, and sports vision performance.
At its core, Vizzario operates as a sensory data exchange platform. That platform allows for value creation around data generated from technologies, including smart devices, wearables, eye-tracking tools, electroencephalogram (EEG) systems, virtual reality and augmented reality via head-mounted displays.
Vizzario then utilizes advancements in machine learning, computer vision and deep learning techniques to help monitor and predict health outcomes through the analysis of an individual’s data.
The partnership was fostered through an ongoing relationship with VSP Global’s innovation lab, The Shop, and joins a number of technology-driven alignments the lab has developed with academic institutions such as the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing.
“New technologies and product offerings are poised to create unprecedented opportunities to expand access to eye care services. Our partnership with Vizzario captures that spirit and will explore new pathways to fuse their technology with our research efforts,” said VSP Global CEO Jim McGrann.
Founded in 2014, Vizzario is led by CEO Dr. Khizer Khaderi who established the Sports Vision Lab at the University of California, Davis and formerly served as the Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology at the UC Davis Eye Center.
Sample applications include the ability to track the effects of digital eye strain over a period of time or to screen for traumatic brain injury in contact sports such as football by measuring key areas of the eye-brain connection.
“We’re excited to partner with VSP Global and explore a number of meaningful pathways to bring Vizzario’s technology to life,” said Dr. Khaderi. “Vizzario is rooted in vision, but the platform is capable of taking in a number of other data sets that can start to enrich the understanding of a person’s lifestyle and habits.”
Research and development is underway inside The Shop to leverage the Vizzario technology through a number of cutting-edge applications. Early areas of interest include synching with EEG bands to track eye movement against electrodes in the brain as well as game-based applications designed to create vision benchmarks and, ultimately, help improve visual acuity over time.
“What we’re building here is the foundation of Contextual Health, which for VSP Global starts to fulfill a broader interest in enriching and personalizing traditional medical records with context from daily living,” said McGrann.
As today’s consumers take more responsibility for their own health outcomes, there is a growing need for better ways to easily collect, analyze and make health data both personal and actionable for the individual and their healthcare team.
As timelines are established over the next few months and product pathways more clearly defined, VSP Global will entertain the option for an additional $1 million investment with Vizzario in June. As part of the partnership agreement, VSP Optics Group President Don Oakley has also been appointed to Vizzario’s board of directors.
Both companies expect to have a consumer-facing offering ready to unveil later in the year.
About VSP Global
VSP Global® helps more than 80 million people see better by providing affordable, accessible, high-quality eye care and eyewear. Our complementary businesses combine superior eye care insurance, high-fashion frames, customized lenses, ophthalmic technology and retail solutions. VSP Global businesses, operating in 100 countries in the U.S., Australia, United Kingdom and Ireland, include VSP Vision Care, Marchon® Eyewear Inc., Eyefinity®, VSP Optics Group and VSP Omni-Channel Solutions. As a not-for-profit business, we are committed to bringing vision to those who can’t come to us, and to reimagining how eye care and eyewear are delivered globally.
About Vizzario, Inc.
Founded in 2014, Vizzario is a sensory data exchange platform that creates value around data generated by advancements in human and computer interaction. Today, the company is led by CEO and founder Dr. Khizer Khaderi, the former Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology at the UC Davis Eye Center and founder of the university’s Sports Vision Lab. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, with satellite offices in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as India. Vizzario’s mission is to understand vision and improve life.
About The Shop
VSP Global® has been an innovative company for 60 years. Today, that spirit has a home in The Shop, VSP Global’s innovation lab that focuses on developing technologies for the physical and digital aspects of eyewear and eye care. As disruption continues to change the optical and healthcare industries, The Shop allows VSP Global businesses to stay ahead of the curve and provide forward-thinking solutions for the company’s 80 million members worldwide. The lab is comprised of two primary locations in Sacramento, CA and New York City that work in tandem with one another, with a third location newly launched in Columbus, OH to support VSP Global’s Eastern Operations Center in the region.