Carter said NASA approached Acuity Pro at an industry trade show two years ago in California. “Because of an already crowded space station, they liked that our software could be loaded on any existing equipment,” he said.
At Bintz's suggestion in the late 1990s, Carter worked for more than two years to program and tweak Acuity Pro's computer software. Bintz and Carter attended Northeastern State University's optometry school together, graduating in 1984.
Carter said he taught himself computer programming in his first career, as a chemistry, physics and biology teacher for Hydro and Cherokee schools. While at optometry school at NSU, he did computer work for a professor and, after graduation, continued to dabble in and expand his programming skills.
“I've never had computer classes,” Carter said. “It's hard to believe that a program I wrote from home is really being used in the International Space Station”
NASA particularly was interested in contrast sensitivity, Carter said, or using faint gray letters, versus black letters on a white page, so astronauts might notice changes sooner and macular degeneration or other visual impairments would be detected earlier.
Acuity Pro software also features jpeg images and videos that optometrists can use to educate their patients about eye diseases, Bintz said.
With the federal government awarding incentives to optometrists to establish and share electronic health records, many doctors have computers in their exam rooms, Bintz said.
“So we were forward-thinking and just didn't realize it,” he said.
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Founded in 2000, Acuity Pro (acuitypro.com) has some 8,000 users worldwide, retired Bartlesville optometrist Jerry Carter said. Users also are in Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Canada. The licensed software costs $1,600, he said.