Scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed cost-effective and simple approaches that turn the humble smartphone into valuable medical tools for opthalmologists.
Images of the eye are taken to investigate a number of medical issues ranging from routine optical check ups to checking trauma patients for signs of hemorrhage. The equipment for these photos, where the eye (or respectively, the retina) is photographed both from the front and from the rear, is technically complex, expensive and requires a lot of practice and expertise to use it. Therefore, such devices are not available or usable everywhere.
However, make a few simple adjustments to a smartphone and you can create a tool that takes medical-quality images. This is done in the form of an adapter, which is plugged in front of the smartphone and thus becomes an aid for snapping the eye. The adapters are inexpensive to produce and easy to use. The images can then, for example, be directed onwards to a treating physician or other medical specialists who can them use them to make a diagnosis. This not only saves time and money, it also saves a lot of stress for patients and physicians.
This technology offers emormous potential, particularly in developing countries where access to healthcare to diagnose and treat optical disease is hard to come by.
Smartphones are evolving into more and more into medical tools (such as microscopes) and aiding healthcare in general. An end to this development, it seems, is nowhere in sight.
This article was translated from the original by Silvana which appeared on our German platform.