‘Vision for Life’: Richardson Startup Evergaze Chosen for National MedTech Program

The optical technology startup aims to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from severe vision loss due to macular degeneration or diabetes. It was one of 50 selected for MedTech Innovator's 2019 Accelerator and Showcase program—and the only one from North Texas—out of 800 applicants.

Over 800 medical technology startups from around the world competed for one of 50 spots in MedTech Innovator’s 2019 Accelerator and Showcase program. Over the course of four months, the participants will connect with leading industry stakeholders, meet with investors, and present in three competitive showcases.

And, Richardson-based Evergaze—the only North Texas startup chosen—is one of 50 to get to do so.

“We saw some of the competition at the regional pitch event in which we participated, and it was impressive to see the ways technology is being developed and deployed to improve peoples’ heath and lives,” Evergaze President Don Dias told Dallas Innovates.

Founded in 2013, Evergaze created seeBOOST, a pair of electronic prescription glasses made to improve the functional vision of people living with macular degeneration or diabetes. The company’s “vision for life” mission speaks to its commitment to making a positive impact on those experiencing central vision loss as a result of these diseases.

The seeBOOST is a wearable device intended to help people with vision loss. [DI Composite: Courtesy Evergaze and atakan/iStockphoto]

“The ability to read a newspaper, watch TV, play bridge or even just see the faces of loved ones is a memory for them,” Dias says. “They’ve lost a part of their life that’s important to them and by restoring their ability to do those things they regain a measure of happiness and well-being.”

The lightweight, monocular device offers adjustable magnification, automatic contrast enhancement, and instant auto-focusing. By covering just one eye, seeBOOST takes advantage of one’s remaining peripheral vision while reducing the potential for dizziness, a common side effect of fully-immersive devices. The design also allows natural eye contact to be maintained more easily. 

Don Douglas, who is legally blind, uses the product to help him read to students at Florence Elementary in Mesquite. As reported by WFAA, he began donating money to the school each month when he learned that many local school children didn’t get enough to eat. His generosity inspired others from around the country to do the same.

Don Douglas reading to the kids at Florence Elementary. [Photo: Courtesy Evergaze]

Touched by his story, Evergaze invited Douglas to try seeBOOST and gifted him a pair. 

“I could see the kids, but I couldn’t see their faces,” Douglas said. “I wanna see their faces, and I can with these glasses.”

Left to right: Ladonna Gulley, principal of Florence Elementary in Mesquite; Steve Harris, seeBOOST investor; Don Dias, seeBOOST president; Russ Lemburg, seeBOOST co-founder and engineer; and Stan Pickett, Mayor of Mesquite. Seated is Don Douglas, a native of Mesquite with age-related Macular Degeneration. [Photo: Courtesy Evergaze]

seeBOOST is available for sale directly from Evergaze’s website and from a growing network of low vision optometrists throughout the U.S. 

Inside MedTech Innovator’s Accelerator and Showcase

MedTech Innovator, a nonprofit accelerator in the medical technology space, last week announced the 50 companies selected to participate in this year’s flagship four-month program. In joining, the startups would have access to leading manufacturers, providers, investors, and industry stakeholders, as well as global leading-edge device, diagnostic, and digital health technologies.

According to MedTech Innovator’s CEO, Paul Grand, the program’s alumni companies have now achieved more than $1 billion in follow-on funding, often attributing MedTech Innovator’s support as a factor to success.

“We take great pride in bringing the world’s best medtech ecosystem together with standout entrepreneurs to provide them with the resources and connections needed to bring their transformative technologies to patients,” he said.

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