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Wednesday / April 17.
HomeminewsCould App for Fundus Imaging Save Thousands of Dollars?

Could App for Fundus Imaging Save Thousands of Dollars?

Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Harvard, have described a simple new technique for performing fundus photography using a smartphone.

The study, reported in the Journal of Ophthalmology, used an iPhone, an app called Filmic Pro and instruments readily available in any ophthalmic practice, to capture high-quality images of patients’ eyes. The ophthalmologist holds their iPhone in one hand and a 20D lens in the other to focus on the retina. Practitioners were able to obtain high-quality fundus images in adults and children, both when asleep and when under anaesthesia.

Shizuo Mukai, associate Professor of Ophthalmology, and author of the report said the researchers were able to acquire excellent images in both clinical and emergency room settings, and even first year residents were able to master the technique in a relatively short period.

“Our technique provides a simple method to consistently produce excellent images of a patient’s fundus,” said Assoc Professor Mukai. “Capturing images with an iPhone using our technique provides a cheap, portable option for acquiring high-quality fundus images for documentation and consultation.”

researchers were able to acquire excellent images…

The researchers claim this technique could save ophthalmologists tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and predict that, over time, image quality will continue to improve as higher-resolution cameras make it onto the market.

No Replacement For a Camera

Richard Grills, the founder of Designs for Vision, said the concept is not a threat to manufacturers of ophthalmic equipment because it will not replace a good retinal camera. “You do not need an app to capture images, such as the ones taken for this study with an iPhone and published in the Journal of Ophthalmology,” said Mr. Grills. “They are nowhere near the quality of a Fundus camera image. Reflections, vignetting and image distortion are present in most of the images. Many other features of good retinal cameras can not be employed with this method, which has been used for a quick image by many already when a retinal camera has not been available.”

Additionally, Mr. Grills said, “because the app is not non-mydriatic, it is not likely to be used by optometrists”.