Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (2)

An Eye Exam On Your iPhone?

Researchers at MIT have developed a method of using a basic cellphone coupled with a cheap and simple plastic device clipped onto the screen to estimate refractive errors and focal range of eyes.

Because of its simplicity, and the fact that soon just about everyone will have access to a mobile phone, eye exams may become available to the whole world at little to no cost.

From MIT News:

In its simplest form, the test can be carried out using a small plastic device clipped onto the front of a cellphone’s screen. The patient looks into a small lens, and presses the phone’s arrow keys until sets of parallel green and red lines just overlap. This is repeated eight times, with the lines at different angles, for each eye. The whole process takes less than two minutes, at which point software loaded onto the phone provides the prescription data.

The device is described in a paper by MIT Media Lab Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar, Visiting Professor Manuel Oliveira, and Media Lab student Vitor Pamplona (lead author of the paper) and postdoctoral research associate Ankit Mohan, that will be presented in late July at the annual computer-graphics conference SIGGRAPH.

The device uses an optical system derived from one some team members developed last year as a way of producing tiny barcodes (called Bokode) that could provide a large amount of information. Raskar explains that he had demonstrated that barcode device to many people, but when he showed it to his wife she had trouble seeing its patterns. He quickly realized that others he had shown it to had been wearing their glasses or contact lenses, but his wife had been looking into it directly and it had revealed the imperfections in her vision. “I said, ‘Wow, maybe you don’t need such an expensive device'” as those presently being used to test people’s vision, Raskar recalls.

Essentially, Raskar explains, the test works by transforming any blurriness produced by aberrations in the eye into an array of separate lines or dots instead of a fuzzy blob, which makes it easier for the user to identify the discrepancy clearly. Rather than estimating which of two views looks sharper, as in conventional eye tests, the user adjusts the display to make the separate lines or dots come together and overlap, which corresponds to bringing the view into sharp focus. The underlying principle is similar to that used by new “adaptive optics” systems that have recently allowed ground-based telescopes to exceed the performance of the Hubble Space Telescope; these sometimes use the same kind of Shack-Hartmann sensors used in eye testing aberrometers.

 Press release: In The World: Easy on the eyes

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

2 Responses to “An Eye Exam On Your iPhone?”

  1. I’m a gastroenterologist. Let me know when the special hemorrhoid attachment is developed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »