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Claire de Thoisy-Méchin

Press Relations

Tel. +33 (0)1 44 27 23 34

Email: claire.de_thoisy-mechin@upmc.fr


In English:

Katherine Tyrka

International Press Relations

tel. +33 (0)1 44 27 51 05

Email: katherine.tyrka@upmc.fr

Essilor and the Vision Institute Join Forces to Study Aging of Vision

Essilor and the Vision Institute (UPMC, Inserm and the CNRS) announce the creation of a joint research laboratory on the theme of “Visual Aging, Action and Autonomy”.

Its aim is to evaluate and to gain a better understanding of the degeneration mechanisms involved in perceptive and cognitive functions related to the aging of the visual system, as well as defining necessary screening methods and instruments. Research will be conducted with a population of people over the age of 55 who are presbyopic but have no other eye conditions.

In the longer term, the research teams will work on designing and evaluating innovative ophthalmic optical products, functional and cognitive rehabilitation protocols and other solutions and services to mitigate the effects associated with visual aging.


This partnership with the Vision Institute on the joint research laboratory for “Visual Aging, Action and Autonomy” aligns perfectly with Essilor’s strategy, which is to join forces with the best research experts all over the world in order to advance our understanding of vision and eye-brain interactions. This approach contributes to Essilor’s mission of offering everyone around the world better life through better sight,” observes Eric Perrier, R&D Director of Essilor International.


Prof. José-Alain Sahel, Director of the Vision Institute, emphasizes that, “The laboratory is an extension of the very successful partnership funded by Oseo between 2007 and 2012 (the Descartes Programme) and also strengthens the disability research centre (the Homelab and Streetlab platforms) and the neuroscience research priorities of the Vision Institute. The increasing needs associated with an aging population and the quality of the partnership with Essilor have led to this very promising new development.”


The question of visual aging is crucial insofar as it is directly linked to the quality of life associated with demographic changes: the global population over the age of 65 is set to almost triple between now and 2050, and the number of people over 45 – and therefore affected by presbyopia – will increase from 1.9 to 2.3 billion by 2020. This will affect mature countries such as France (with 2.3 million additional people with presbyopia by 2020 or the USA (+ 17 million) and emerging regions such as Latin America (+ 43 million) and especially Asia (+ 300 million).


As people with presbyopia also have an increasingly active and connected lifestyle thanks to technology (tablets, smartphones, etc.), their visual needs and performance are changing in ways which must be observed and anticipated.

As the Vision Impact Institute1 points out, Americans over the age of 40 account for 75% of the total cost of poor vision in the United States, which has now reached $60 million per day2. At a global level, older people over the age of 65 account for 50% of the loss of productivity due to poor vision, which is calculated at $275 billion a year.

Aging populations are subject to a loss of autonomy and normal disturbances of vision and perception, particularly in relation to moving around.


Access to cutting-edge test platforms

This new unit within the Vision Institute in Paris3 will rely on a number of existing teams and structures, including the “Home Lab” and “Streetlab” platforms4, which will make it possible to carry out behavioural experiments with people in situations of sensory deficit in a fully monitored controlled environment. It will also develop its own experimental platforms specific to its research areas, which will contribute to unique know-how in the field of neurosensory aging.


A team of 10 dedicated specialists

A multidisciplinary fundamental research team has been created whose skills cover areas such as psychophysics, neurobiology, clinical evaluation and mathematical modelling.


The Director is Dr Angelo Arleo, researcher in neurosciences, research director at the CNRS since 2012, who also worked at Université Pierre et Marie Curie since 2007. He has particular expertise in the neuroscience of spatial cognition, especially in relation to the sensorimotor and cognitive processes of spatial orientation and planning. He has a PhD from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) and carried out post-doctoral research at the Collège de France, supplemented by research experience in industry.


It will be run by a scientific committee and management committee, with a mix of researchers from Essilor and the Vision Institute/Université Pierre et Marie Curie, including Prof. Sahel, Director of the Vision Institute and Prof. Safran, associate professor at UPMC. A scientific council made up of international experts will contribute to the scientific guidance and to a global scale communication of academic results.

The Vision Institute, led by Professor José -Alain Sahel, is the top French center dedicated to scientific and medical research on diseases of the eye. The campus, located in  the Quinze-Vingts hospital, brings together all research stakeholders - researchers, doctors and industrial - around a common goal: to accelerate innovation for the benefit of patients. 250 scientists and clinicians and 10 industrial companies work hand in hand to understand diseases of vision, discover new treatments and preventive solutions, develop and validate innovative technologies help disability. For more information: www.institut-vision.orgNouvelle fenêtre

CNRS and Inserm are members of Sorbonne University.

Press Contacts:
UPMC: Claire Thoisy Méchin      01 44 27 23 34 / 06 74 03 40 19      claire.de_thoisymechin @ upmc.fr      www.upmc.frNouvelle fenêtre www.pro.upmc.frNouvelle fenêtre
Institute of Vision: Peggy Chambaz      01 53 46 26 21 / 06 48 08 27 59      peggy.chambaz @ upmc.fr      www.fondave.orgNouvelle fenêtre www.institut-vision.orgNouvelle fenêtre

Photo: The Vision Institut's screening platform © UPMC - Pierre Kitmacher