Page last updated at 01:35 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 02:35 UK

Eye opener with star technology

Technology used by astronomers is being used in eye treatment research

Astronomers at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh are working with medics to apply technology used to detect stars to treat diseases in the human eye.

Adaptive optics is used by astronomers to cut out atmospheric turbulence around stars to produce clear images.

The technology they use to cut out the "twinkle" of stars can give a clearer image of the retina and help detect disease in the eye.

It will be highlighted at a conference at Stirling University later.

Early detection

The astronomers based at the Royal Observatory are involved in building the world's largest telescope but now they are collaborating with medics to adapt that knowledge to smaller equipment that produces clearer pictures of the retina.

It is hoped this may assist the early detection of many diseases including Alzheimer's and diabetes.

Elaine Gemmell, of Scottish Health Innovations, said: "The development of innovative technology through collaboration between clinicians, researchers and commerce has been placed at the heart of improving patient care in Scotland.

"Successful collaborations can deliver medical advances and significant commercial benefits.

"The message is clear. Major opportunities exist in Scotland for collaborative development of imaging techniques and technologies for improved health and wellbeing of people everywhere."

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