South Florida company hopes to provide accessible eye care for everyone

Whether you wear glasses, contacts, or have perfect 20/20 vision, your eyes are one of the most important organs in the body, but not many people take care of them as well as they should nor does everyone have the same access to care.

MIAMI – When you go to a doctor’s office for an eye exam, you normally walk in and prepare for the puff of smoke in your eye and the number of other tests you’ll have to sit down for, but what if they was a way to change that entire process?

The simplicity of “Heru”, a named meant to closely mirror a “hero”, is matched by the company’s protagonistic mission.

Armed with a Ph.D. in vision science, years of experience as a practicing ophthalmologist, and a goal of achieving worldwide change, Dr. Mohamed Abou Shousha, the founder and CEO of Heru, is determined to “democritize eye care” as he puts it.

This starts by acknowledging the obstacles many people face in getting eye care including a question he and other experts have asked many patients over the years, “what’s your biggest fear?”

“The answer was death or blindness. A lot of people actually said they would rather die than go blind. Unfortunately, we take our vision for granted,” Shousha said.

What started as an idea about 10 years ago, eventually spun off of the University of Miami’s renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Heru uses AI and VR-powered technology to simplify and accelerate a familiar process.

“Health and wellness diagnostics in a wearable device. You replace all those rooms and devices and workflow with a wearable device you can put on your head and take the test anytime and anywhere,” Shousha said.

That flexibility, Shousha says, is also much cheaper where normal vision medical equipment can cost six figures, the devices Heru uses cost a fraction of that.

The headsets, which can come from companies like meta and plantation-based magic leap are compatible with Heru’s diagnostic software and are perfect for the service.

“Most of us spoke to Siri or Alexa at some point, so why not have the medical device talk to you, tell you the instructions,” Shousha said.

How the service works is first you order the test, then the patient takes the virtual test and lastly the results are available in real-time.

According to Shousha, the device has bio-sensors, plus inward and outward-looking cameras that watch how you interact with what is being displayed, usually in a fun sort of exercise.

How a patient interacts with what’s being displayed, will allow an intelligent algorithm to quantify and measure any vision defect he or she may have.

“With something like Heru, it’s bigger than me or any one individual. It’s really scaling what you can do to help humanity. In every story there is a bad guy and there is a “Heru” and we are the “Herus” of vision care,” Shousha said.

The device is already in 38 states, with plans to expand to all 50 places worldwide, so be on the lookout for something that is already proving to be more than meets the eye.

About the Author:

Gio Insignares joined the Local 10 News team in May 2021 as an anchor and reporter. He’ll be co-anchoring the new WSFL Morning Newscast, Monday-Friday from 7-9 a.m., and also contribute to other WPLG newscasts.