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iPhones for Eye Heath: Capturing Ocular Images in Difficult-to-Photograph Patients

Your iPhone is capable of much more than just texting, taking pictures, calling and checking sports scores. Smartphones can now be effective tools for photographing the inside of the eye! A group of researchers from Ross Eye Institute at the University of Buffalo-SUNY have created an inexpensive iPhone app that can take photos of the inside of the eye. Eye imaging is important for tracking the progression of eye disease and has become an important part of eye examinations.

This is especially encouraging news for patients who are difficult to photograph. Standard equipment in medical facilities and eye clinics are created for adult body frames. For children or the elderly who are not tall enough or cannot maintain an upright position, the traditional photographing method would not work (Source: Medical Express).

Using an iExaminer smartphone system and an iPhone, the research team photographed 28 hospitalized pediatric patients with a range of vision conditions. How does it work? Using an adapter, an ophthalmoscope attaches to the iPhone to enable photo and video capability. The technology can even photograph the back of the eye without dilation drops!

Lead researcher, Jiaxi Ding, M.D. said of the new advancement, “This system could be useful not only to ophthalmologists, but also emergency department physicians, hospitalists and general practitioners. Because it can instantly capture photos and videos of the back of the eye through an undilated pupil, there is potential for prompt telemedicine consultations with an ophthalmologist and getting preliminary triage answers to the patient more quickly than waiting for standard office referral.”