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Scientists focus on eye-phone revolution

EYE care could be "revolutionised" by two new smartphone adaptors that can capture high-quality images of the front and back of the eye, researchers have said.

The new low-cost adaptors will mean that anyone with minimal training will be able to picture the eye and share images with experts, the developers said.

They said standard equipment used to photograph the eye is expensive and requires extensive training to use and many GPs and emergency care medics don't have access to such apparatus.

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California developed the pocket-sized adaptor which adds a lens and lighting elements to the phone to image the front of the eye.

PROTOTYPES

After figuring out how to capture the front of the eye accurately, the developers turned their attentions to how they would picture the back of the eye – the retina.

They worked out the exact working distance and lighting conditions for a simple adaptor that connects a conventional examination lens to a phone.

Writing about the tools in the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine,assistant professor of ophthalmology Robert Chang said: "Think Instagram for the eye. With smartphone cameras now everywhere, and a small, inexpensive attachment that helps the ancillary health-care staff to take a picture needed for an eye consultation, we should be able to lower the barrier to tele-ophthalmology."

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