Thursday, July 14, 2011
Smartphone App to Detect Cataracts!
Researchers at MIT have developed a cheap and easy to use system, called Catra, that uses a cameraphone clip-on device to map out cataracts.
The technology functions by sweeping the eye with a beam of light and using the phone’s camera to detect fuzzy spots. It can provide both a map of the cataracts and maybe help make an overall assessment of whether surgery might be necessary.
From MIT News:
While the standard test for cataracts in an ophthalmologist’s office assigns a score on a scale of 1 to 4 — from no cataracts to completely blocked vision — the new, inexpensive test actually provides much more information. Media Lab graduate student Vitor Pamplona, a member of the team developing Catra, explains that it “scans the lens of the eye and creates a map showing position, size, shape and density of cataracts.”
At the moment, that’s more information than doctors need, Raskar acknowledges, since they’re essentially faced with a binary decision: whether or not to surgically remove the lens. But he notes a possible similarity to the evolution of devices to measure the eye’s refractive errors — the information needed for a prescription for corrective lenses. Decades ago, a new test was developed that could map local variations in the eye’s refraction, giving far more information than the three numbers needed for a simple prescription. Initially, there was no therapeutic value in the added information, but with the advent of Lasik laser eye surgery, the detailed refraction map of the lens later became important."
What do we think at Skyvision? The most important part of the story is that our patients and our doctors work as a team to decide when the vision has gotten bad enough from the cataract to have surgery. We'd LOVE to know that you have a cataract before you come to the office, though!!