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Smartphone App For Detecting Eye Disease Is About To Be Tested In Mexico

Eye Disease Smartphone APp

Smartphones have become enormously popular in the past few years, and sales are continuing to rise as competition between the manufacturers leads to even greater innovation. One of the features that is most sought after is a quality camera, and with current models you can expect a phone with 13MP to 20.3MP, replacing the use of small cameras.

Researchers at the Medical and Surgical Center for Retina have put a smartphone camera to good use. In collaboration with biomedical engineers from the ITESM they have created a special app that can detect eye diseases such as diabetic macular edema. With the help of a smartphone camera the app can detect abnormalities in the thickness of the eye’s retina.

Macular edema is a condition in which fluids and proteins collect on or under the macula (responsible for detailed, central vision) of the eye, causing it to thicken and swell and as a result distort the vision.

Vison of a person with diabetic macular edema

Vison of a person with diabetic macular edema (Credits: AlphaGalileo)

Medical director, Dr. Juan Carlos Altamirano Vallejo, from the Medical and Surgical Center for Retina says: “The idea is to detect and prevent diseases in general practice. We are not replacing the specialist, we want to know which patients have a disease and make an early detection,” adding, “with just having the app on the cell phone and focusing the camera on the eye, immediate results will be obtained – we start off the fact that it is much cheaper to prevent than to cure blindness.”

The application is also a great addition in areas where ophthalmology expertise isn’t present, because equipment to detect eye abnormalities is expensive and so far only a physical visit to ophthalmologist could suffice in most accurate diagnosis.

Software is showing much promise and is soon scheduled to be incorporated in the basic health system of  Mexico. As smartphone cameras are getting better and better, can we soon expect more preventive medical related apps in our everyday lives and not use a smartphone’s camera just to take selfies?

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