EMPIR project extends European metrological cohesion in the fight against blindness

Close up of a medical image of the back of an eye showing micro-veins and vessels with a dark patch towards right hand side of image representing a vein occlusion
Medical photo of a pathology vein occlusion

A small collaborative project aimed at extending knowledge in the field of eye tonometers has increased its impact

Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness in the world. The only treatable factor for this chronic disease is an increase in intra-ocular pressure (IOP), caused by fluid build-up inside the eye.

During EMPIR project Developing research capabilities for traceable intraocular pressure measurements (16RPT03, InTense) the Czech National Metrology Institute (CMI) extended a facility for calibrating tonometers - the instruments that measure intra-ocular pressure. The project also established the concept of ‘Smart Specialisation’ to ensure a coordinated approach to eye-tonometry in this area.

Thanks to the InTense project the metrological knowledge in tonometer calibration was transferred to measurement institutes across central Europe.


This work has continued in EURAMET’s small collaborative project Development of eye-tonometry in CEFTA countries (20SCP02, CEFTON). Small collaborative projects are up to 18 months in duration and aim to fund support activities targeted at emerging EURAMET National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) and Designated Institutes (DIs). The aim of the CEFTON project was to further develop tonometry capability in Central Europe Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) states.

Not only has this been achieved - during the project it was found that the most active engagement from stakeholders and collaborators were not only from CEFTA countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and North Macedonia – but also from Ukraine and Georgia. The majority of the participants in the project are all now either Candidates negotiating, Candidates or Applicants for EU membership.

This EMPIR project has enhanced the cohesion for enlarging the EU, at the metrological level, through the smart specialisation cooperation network it has developed.

The coordinator of the CEFTON project, and of the preceding InTense project, Dominik Pražák (CMI) said about the work of the IOP centre:

“The center contributes to the readiness of the European national metrology institutes to meet the requirements of the Medical Device Regulation and also supports the entry of the new members into the EU”.

Extending the meteorological knowledge in this vital area will allow medical professionals to treat one of the most important risk factors for glaucoma more effectively and improve the quality of life of CEFTA and non-CEFTA citizens.

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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