Product: OcuBall
Top Line: Educators and professionals worldwide now have access to a novel eye model that replaces traditional animal-based methods for foreign body removal—a critically important skill for clinical practice. OcuBlink has shipped its first order of OcuBall, a polymer-based eye model that can be used for training and in educational settings to perfect the removal of foreign bodies, while eliminating safety concerns related to handling, disposal and storage of biological tissue. OcuBall’s inaugural order is being shipped to the Illinois College of Optometry where it will be used by optometry students to practice and gain confidence in the removal of materials from the eye, such as tiny pieces of metal from the cornea. OcuBall comes premade with carbon/mild steel particles inserted on the surface of the eye to provide a realistic, safe and inexpensive clinical scenario for the practice of foreign body removal. Over time, the metal pieces can rust and form a typical rust ring, just as they do in the human eye.
Close Up: Made of a biocompatible polymer-based material, OcuBall is less expensive than typically sourced animal models and it eliminates concerns of cross-contamination and biological waste. OcuBall can be stored in saline for several weeks without spoilage and has no odor. “OcuBall feels like a human eye and simulates a realistic response to embedded foreign bodies, similar to those found in clinical environments,” said OcuBlink Chief Executive Officer Hendrik Walther, PhD, MSc, BSc Optom. “We are thrilled to share the development of a model that performs like a real human eye, giving students the opportunity to gain confidence in a situation they are likely to encounter in real life.” 
Vital Stats: OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) and now operates as an affiliate, utilizing CORE’s staffing, counsel and laboratories. In the fall of 2018, OcuBlink was accepted into Velocity, Canada’s most productive startup incubator.