Your smartphone can now detect eye diseases

Thomas Wellburn
July 6, 2015

A new smartphone application developed by researchers in Mexico can offer an early diagnosis to Macular Edema, potentially saving thousands from early-onset blindness.

We recently reported that your smartphone will be able to detect pregnancies and diabetes thanks to a new sensor technology coming in the next few years. Well, now you can add eye disease detection to the ever-expanding list of uses for your unassuming candy-bar device.

Software developed by the Medical and Surgical Centre for Retina in collaboration with biomedical engineers from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) in Mexico has the ability to detect Macular Edema by utilising the camera sensor on your smartphone device.

The condition occurs when fluid and protein deposits collect on or under the macula of the eye, causing it to thicken and swell. The condition can be triggered by underlying issues such as diabetes or it can be the result of degeneration in old age. The swelling distort a person’s central vision, creating a black spot that makes it difficult to read and identify faces.

The technology within the application scans the retina for any abnormailities that could indicate the presence of Macular Edema. The aim is to give specialists more of a chance at catching the condition early, as treatment can be used to slow the condition and lessen the symptoms.

Researchers are targeting the application at rural areas where people may not be able to see a doctor particularly often. With the help of their smartphone, they will be able to keep track of their eyesight much more efficiently.


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