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A Siblings Love: the inspiring history behind Phelcom
March 11, 2024
Fernanda Verardi


Eyer, the company's first equipment, is a result of co-founder Diego Lencione's genuine interest in helping his brother Welber and other’s with sight problems.
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As a child, Phelcom’s Co-Founder and CTO Diego Lencione dreamed of becoming an ophthalmologist. His goal was to help people who suffered from retinal and vision impairment like his older brother, Welber Lencione.

Welber was diagnosed with high myopia when he was seven months old. During his childhood, it reached 17 degrees. The main difficulty with the disease is being able to see distant objects clearly. However, for those with high degrees of myopia, the symptoms are even more serious and have a significant impact on quality of life.

At school, seeing the small print on the blackboard was a real challenge for Welber. “For me to be able to see well, I have to get very close to my cell phone, computer or television. Without my glasses, I can’t even leave the house”, he explains.

High myopia can cause a series of eye complications and significant damage to vision. At the age of 11, Welber suffered retinal detachment in both eyes. At the time, he was admitted to the hospital for two months for treatment.

At 18 years old, he had another episode of retinal detachment, also in both eyes. However, laser surgery was available and he returned home the same day. Since then, he has had no further complications and his myopia has dropped to 11 degrees. “All this has matured me a lot. In the end, time goes by and things settle down”, he reflects.

Welber currently has a productive life full of achievements. He works as a security guard at the University of São Paulo (USP) for 18 years, has a 12 year old son named Andrew, is a regular reader and recently became a marathon runner.

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Welber Lencione during a competition


Welber says he has always loved sports. Seven years ago, he started running. “I don’t have any difficulties related to my eyesight. I feel 100% myself when I run”.

The athlete has been taking part in competitions in and around São Carlos (SP) for three years. To prepare, he trains in his own neighborhood, day in and day out, in the company of some colleagues. In January, he achieved something he never had before: he completed a marathon in Ribeirão Preto (SP).

Welber finished the last 100 meters of the Ribeirão Preto Marathon alongside his son, Andrew.

Welber reveals that he wants to do it again, but in the famous “São Silvestre International Race”, which takes place every year on December 31st in the city of São Paulo. The obstacle? “It’s a very bad date,” he jokes.


During Welber’s first surgery, Diego was four years old. He had to spend days away from his beloved brother and his mother, who stayed with her firstborn for two months in the hospital.

Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Diego followed his brother’s journey: “When I grew up, life took me into other areas and I ended up studying Physics. At university, I specialized in optics and, before I knew it, I was already working in research and development of ophthalmic equipment,” Diego recalls.

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Phelcom’s Co-Founder and CTO, Diego Lencione, with his brother, Welber Lencione.

This gave rise to Phelcom and the idea of creating Eyer -a portable fundus camera that aims to help combat severe visual impairment and blindness. The first tests performed with the first prototypes were on Welber’s eyes. “It was an unforgettable moment. We created something that allowed us to clearly see the changes in his retina and that it would soon be useful for many other people as well. Many times throughout Phelcom’s history, I’ve found myself returning to this time, especially in the company’s most difficult moments”, he reveals.

His brother continues to be a source of inspiration for Diego. Recently, the youngest brother performed a new retinal examination on Welber with the help of EyerMaps, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that runs on board Eyer and detects any suspected retinal abnormalities with high accuracy.

The AI pointed to the presence of something new in the back of Welber’s eye. “My brother even suspected a new retinal detachment. But with further tests, the ophthalmologist concluded that it was a kind of membrane that had grown there and that it didn’t affect his vision”, he says, relieved.

About Phelcom

Phelcom Technologies is a Brazilian medtech company based in São Carlos, in the interior area of São Paulo. The company’s story began in 2016, when three young researchers – a physicist, an electronics engineer and a computer engineer (physics, electronics, computing) – created a portable fundus camera integrated with a smartphone.

In 2019, Phelcom launched its first product on the Brazilian market: the Eyer portable fundus camera, winner of the World Summit Award 2020 and Falling Walls Lab 2016.

Today, the technology has reached more than two million people across Brazil and worldwide.

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