Two inexpensive adapters enable a smartphone to capture high-quality images of the front and back of the eye, enabling users to share them securely with other health practitioners or store it in a patient's electronic record. The researchers see this technology as an opportunity to increase access to eye-care services as well as to improve the ability to advise on patient care remotely.
Other adapters are available to attach a smartphone to a slit lamp — a microscope with an adjustable, high-intensity light — to capture images of the front of the eye. Given the fast pace of patient care, the researchers wanted point-and-shoot ability in seconds, not minutes, with instant upload to a secure server. More importantly, the team envisioned the device to be readily usable by any healthcare practitioner, not just eye doctors. After numerous iterations, the team found a combination of magnification and lighting elements that worked.
After successfully imaging the front of the eye, they then focused on visualizing the inside lining of the back of the eye, called the retina. To optimize the view through a dilated pupil, optics theory was used to determine the perfect working distance and lighting conditions for a simple adapter that connects a conventional examination lens to a phone.