DigiSight gets $7.8M to go beyond ophthalmology app

By Jonah Comstock
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digisight sightbookDigiSight Technologies, a California-based company currently focused on mobile apps for ophthalmology, has raised $7.8 million in second round financing. The round was led by Biosys Capital, Waycross Ventures, GE Ventures, and Lagunita, with additional contributions from existing investors.

The company's core technology is the DigiSight Network, a platform for connecting data from patients' mobile apps to care team through a secure patient portal. Currently the company has one app: Sightbook, an iOS app that offers 10 vision tests patients can take at home and share the results with their doctors. But the company plans to use the funding to expand the team and develop technologies beyond ophthalmology.

"Ophthalmology is a specialty well-suited to using mobile tests and diagnostics," CEO Doug Foster said in a statement. "Blindness is a debilitating condition that is expensive for the healthcare system, and patients with acute conditions are highly motivated to be engaged with their care plans. Generating more patient data can profoundly impact the ability to deliver high quality, cost-efficient care for these patients. DigiSight is leading the movement to realize this vision for healthcare through mobile technology. This financing enables us to move aggressively on our plan and we are excited to partner with our new investors."

Sightbook was used in a pilot study at UCLA last April. The study showed that patients with diabetes (at risk for diabetic retinopathy) were adherent to — and even enthusiastic about — self-monitoring their vision with a mobile app, but the study was not able to quantitatively demonstrate a health effect from the intervention. Partly, that's because it was a small study and many of the patients were already well-controlled.

"General findings are that diabetic patients, even though they have a lot on their plate — checking their sugar regularly, etc. — they enjoy using the mobile app because it simplifies this aspect of their healthcare,” Dr. Irena Tsui, the lead investigator on the study, told MobiHealthNews at the time. “Without it we would tell patients, ‘If you notice a change in your vision please call us.’ So that’s kind of a big thing. This is something concrete that patients can do at home.”

SightBook is not FDA-cleared. DigiSight makes that clear on its website: “The statements, materials, information and/or services provided on the Services have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

At least one iPhone vision test app has been cleared by the FDA, but only for prescription use. Texas-based Vital Art and Science is currently pursuing ways to distribute MyVisionTrack via pharmaceutical companies as an adherence tool for medications and for clinical trials.