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Imaging technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade, which means that there may finally be another way to get an ophthalmoscopy without having to deal with long doctor’s visits and irritating dilating eyedrops. Not only will this new technology make the process faster and easier, it will also help people who might not have easy access to an eye doctor due to physical, geographic, or financial constraints.
What follows is generally a physical examination performed by the eye doctor, a comprehensive array of digital photos taken of the fundus, or a combination of the two. This generally gives the doctor a very clear idea of what is happening in your eye and provides an important record for tracking the progression of many degenerative eye diseases.
However, this process can be uncomfortable or inconvenient for the patient (and for a very small minority [roughly 1-6 in 20,000] it may precipitate acute angle closure glaucoma). The equipment necessary to take these photos is cumbersome and extremely expensive, even in North America where it is more readily available. In countries that aren’t as wealthy, or have governments that don’t subsidize ophthalmology, the procedure can be a major prohibitive expense.
Today, the feasibility of this technology has drastically increased,3 and doctors are hoping to begin utilizing these affordable and portable cameras to adapt the way they monitor and diagnose glaucoma. A recent innovative fundus camera based on the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and the NoIR camera board is as portable as your average Nikon, boasts superb image quality without need for dilating eye drops, and only costs about $185.4 The researchers say this technology will open diagnostic doors for glaucoma patients worldwide. Eventually, patients may even be able to take these photos themselves, and simply email the pictures to their doctor.
This kind of technological advancement can change the game for glaucoma patients and doctors around the world. Your donation to Glaucoma Research Foundation can contribute to further research to develop innovative, accessible technologies for diagnostics and treatment.
1 “Opthalmoscopy,” February 23, 2015, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003881.htm
2 “Fundoscopy: to dilate or not to dilate?” January 7, 2006, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1325111/
3 “Construction of an Inexpensive, Hand-Held Fundus Camera through Modification of a Consumer “Point-and-Shoot” Camera,” November 9, 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3495602/
4 “A Portable, Inexpensive, Nonmydriatic Fundus Camera Based on the Raspberry Pi* Computer,” March 15, 2017, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/joph/2017/4526243/
Last reviewed on May 25, 2017