Researchers use smart phone photography to diagnose eye disease

September 24, 2013, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Retinal (or fundus) photography is an essential part of any ophthalmology practice. Commercial fundus cameras can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, making the technology out of reach for smaller ophthalmic practices and to physicians in third-world countries. In a recent study now on line, Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers describe the relatively simple technique of fundus photography in human and rabbit eyes using a smartphone, an inexpensive app for the smartphone, and instruments that are readily available in an ophthalmic practice.

Smartphones are now being used more routinely in ophthalmology to document patients' ocular conditions, the authors write. Previously described techniques of fundus imaging often proved difficult to repeat, partly because video capture using Apple's built-in camera app in the iPhones cannot independently control the focus and the exposure during filming, which results in glare and poor image quality.

"Our technique provides a simpler and higher quality method to more consistently produce excellent images of a patient's fundus," said senior author Shizuo Mukai, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear retina specialist and Harvard Medical School associate professor of Ophthalmology. "This technique has been extremely helpful for us in the emergency department setting, in-patient consultations, and during examinations under anesthesia as it provides a cheaper and portable option for high-quality fundus- for documentation and consultation. This technique is well tolerated in awake patients most likely since the used is often well below that which is used in standard indirect ophthalmoscopy."

Using the described technique of smartphone fundus photography with the use of iPhone 4 or iPhone 5, the app Filmic pro, and a 20D lens with or without a Koeppe lens, researchers were was able to capture excellent, high-quality fundus images in both children under anesthesia and in awake adults.

The best results were achieved in the operating room when a Koeppe lens was used in addition to the 20D lens; however, excellent images were acquired with the 20D lens alone in the clinic and emergency room setting as well as in the operating room. Researchers report that even first-year ophthalmology residents were able to master this technique in a relatively short period.

"This technique is relatively inexpensive and simple to master, and takes advantage of the expanding mobile-telephone networks for telemedicine," Dr. Mukai said. "We expect that the quality of the images achieved using this technique will continue to improve as higher-resolution cameras with larger sensors and better image stabilization is incorporated into newer smartphones."

Explore further: Smartphone can be a new tool in emergency department diagnosis

More information: Findings published in Journal of Ophthalmology online. www.hindawi.com/journals/jop/2013/518479/

Related Stories

Smartphone can be a new tool in emergency department diagnosis

July 23, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Emory Eye Center investigators have found that smartphone displays are as good, and may be better, for reading fundus photographs of the back of the eye (retina and optic nerve) than desktop computer monitors. ...

Ultrawide field retinal imaging improves telehealth evaluation

August 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Implementation of non-mydriatic ultrawide field retinal imaging (UWFI) in a telemedicine program significantly reduces the ungradable rate in evaluation of patients for diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic ...

Impaired autophagy associated with age-related macular degeneration

August 21, 2013
A new study published in the prestigious PLoS One journal changes our understanding of the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers found that degenerative changes and loss of vision are caused ...

Recommended for you

Satellite imaging techniques may help reduce preventable vision loss

May 11, 2018
By adapting pattern recognition techniques used to assess satellite images, scientists have devised a novel way to diagnose blinding eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration.

Ophthalmologists link immunotherapy with a serious eye condition

May 7, 2018
New immunotherapy treatments offer a remarkable chance for survival for patients with advanced melanoma and hard-to-treat cancers of the bladder, kidney and lung.

Burnout, depression can affect ophthalmology residents, study finds

May 4, 2018
A new study led by Brown University researchers finds that ophthalmology residents across the U.S. face a substantial burden of burnout and depression, which may affect not only the residents themselves but also the quality ...

AI better than most human experts at detecting cause of preemie blindness

May 3, 2018
An algorithm that uses artificial intelligence can automatically and more accurately diagnose a potentially devastating cause of childhood blindness than most expert physicians, a paper published in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests.

New diagnostic technique picks up the S in vision

May 1, 2018
A new technique that could help improve diagnosis of vision disorders has been successfully tested at the University of Bradford, UK.

A bit of dark chocolate might sweeten your vision

April 26, 2018
It may not replace prescription glasses, but a few bites of dark chocolate might offer a slight and temporary bump up in vision quality, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.