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OUTSIDE IN: This is the third in a five-part series.
When Gabrielle Elliot-Bouchard was a child in Detroit, a condition caused blindness in one eye and left her with poor vision in the other.
“I saw from a really young age what it was like to have low vision,” she said. “I dedicated my life from a young age to ophthalmology and the state of vision care.”
Her experience with Amblyopia fueled a passion to develop solutions for others with visual impairments. Out of that came Coloursmith, a medical technology start-up developing contact lenses to correct colour blindness.
The US-Canadian dual citizen moved to Canada where she completed a degree in chemistry at Dalhousie University.
Colour blindness is a condition that affects one in 12 males and one in 200 females. So, there is a market.
The product under development uses a filter that reshapes the way the eye perceives light and corrects colour confusion.
In 2018, she pitched her project and won a competition at Volta Labs in Halifax to fund a feasibility study.
She also received grants and support from Innovacorp, Nova Scotia Business Inc, the Creative Destruction Lab at Dalhousie University, and various business mentors at Saint Mary’s University.
With help from ophthalmologists, vision experts and a team of engineers from Dalhousie, the product is now under development.
When ready, it will need clearance from Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration. When these approvals are received, Elliot-Bouchard hopes people will be wearing her contact lenses by 2022.
Elliot-Bouchard credits the support she’s had from the ecosystem in Atlantic Canada for her success and says this support is the reason she stayed here to develop her company.
“I fell in love with the problem and dedicated myself to finding a solution.”
Who is innovating in Atlantic Canada?
Click the photos or headlines to learn about these great Nova Scotian innovators.