Photo by Jeff Fitlow

A set of snap-together glasses designed by students at Rice lets people with diabetes see into the future and know that without proper care, the future does not look good.

The educational tool was developed by a team of students working on behalf of the Rice 360˚ Institute for Global Health. The glasses will help doctors show patients how their vision could deteriorate over time due to diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that can result from uncontrolled diabetes and lead to blindness. They hope the tool will encourage patients to follow their doctors’ protocols.

“Retinopathy is not curable,” said senior psychology major Anna Klineberg, who worked on the project with her teammates at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. “A lot of people with diabetes get retinopathy, and a lot of them have never even heard of the disease. So we’re targeting these patients early and have either health care providers or retinopathy specialists show them that if they’re not careful, this is what could happen.”

The lenses show them how retinopathy progressively damages a patient’s vision. Though the glasses are geared specifically to low-resource settings like those served by Rice 360˚, they hope anyone who works with diabetics will find them helpful.

Read more about team Eye See You See (ICUC) and the many student research projects under development in Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen here.