Engineers at Rice University have developed a prototype device that may one day allow patients to screen their eyes for signs of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Modern ophthalmoscopes can already be connected to smartphones for easy image sharing, allowing remote ophthalmologists to help with diagnosis. Yet, properly aligning the instrument with the eye is still a matter of skill, so the Rice team have been working to help automate this process so that just about anyone can exmine the retina.
The mobileVision system does not require the use of dilating eye drops, instead relying on darkness to do it naturally. The person simply positions the eye into the eyepiece and looks to see a red disk within. It will only be visible if the pupil is dilated sufficiently and the eye is properly aligned with the ophthalmoscope. Once the disk is clearly seen, the person simply presses the trigger button to take a video of the retina. Later on, a special algorithm converts the video into high resolution photos using techniques developed for astronomers to image distant objects in space whose light passes through our atmosphere.. These final images can be further analyzed and optimized to help visualize fine retinal details
Finally, they can then be sent wirelessly to an ophthalmologist who can review them as though they were taken by another professional.
Here are the Rice engineers behind the new mobileVision system:
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