Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers have developed a simple technique of fundus (retinal) photography in human and rabbit eyes using a iPhone, an inexpensive app, and instruments that are readily available in an ophthalmic practice, as described in the Journal of Ophthalmology (open access).
Commercial fundus cameras can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, making the technology out of reach for smaller ophthalmic practices and to physicians in third-world countries.
But previous techniques of fundus imaging were often difficult to repeat, partly because video capture using Apple’s built-in camera app in iPhones cannot independently control the focus and the exposure, which results in glare and poor image quality.
“Our technique provides a simpler and higher quality method to more consistently produce excellent images of a patient’s fundus,” said senior author Shizuo Mukai, M.D.,Mass. Eye and Ear retina specialist and Harvard Medical School associate professor of Ophthalmology.
“This technique has been extremely helpful for us in the emergency department setting, in-patient consultations, and during examinations under anesthesia as it provides a cheaper and portable option for high-quality fundus-image acquisition for documentation and consultation. The technique is well tolerated in awake patients most likely since the light intensity used is often well below that which is used in standard indirect ophthalmoscopy.”