DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Adapting SmartPhones for Ocular Diagnosis

Posted August 23, 2017

Michael Browne, Ph.D., SA Photonics, Inc.

The last century has brought an almost tenfold increase in the ocular injury rate on the battlefield, and the eye casualty rate in combat is 20 to 50 times greater than would be expected from the frontal area taken up by the ocular region. Add to this the fact that there are very few eye doctors deployed in field hospitals, and there is clearly a large need for a portable eye examination system that can help trained medical personnel diagnose eye injuries either on site, or remotely via telemedicine if they are not deployed to a given field hospital.

SA Photonics has designed on SBIR Phase I and Phase II funding a hybrid slit-lamp/ophthalmoscope that clips onto a smartphone. This system is easy to use for an untrained medic but also capable enough so that an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or ophthalmic surgeon could find it useful. The SA Photonics system provides functionality for common eye injury exams, including a stereo slit lamp with variable illumination and patterns, an imaging module for near infrared (NIR) pupillography and an ophthalmoscope module for retinal imaging. The compact system can also modularly scale into larger hand held and desktop versions for a more conventional examination configuration, while gaining additional power and stabilization. The smartphone provides a means of reviewing images, sending the images for telemedicine consultations and guiding medics through an eye exam.

This system from SA Photonics will dramatically improve the treatment of military ocular injuries at remote forward operating bases, Battalion Aid Stations, and ships away from port, among many other locations. Similarly in the civilian realm, medical and non-medical personnel in remote areas (including FEMA, Red Cross and others) who need to determine the best course of action for a patient with ocular injuries will find benefit from this smartphone-based slit-lamp/ophthalmoscope.

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Last updated Wednesday, August 23, 2017