oDocs Eye Care and Dr. Sheng Chiong Hong have developed a special app and ocular imaging device that enables mobile eye examination using a smartphone. Created by Hong's company, oDocs Eye Care, this technology could seriously help reduce cases of preventable blindness in remote communities around the world.
oDocs Eye Care was founded in 2014 with the aim of ending preventable blindness around the world by helping to enable professional eye care anywhere it's needed.
This could prove to be a very powerful tool in the arsenal of optometrists, GP's and other health providers in said remote locals. It will be of particular utility to developing nations in general who may not be able to afford high-tech, and expensive, Fundus cameras.
It could be used to help treat common front of eye problems like cataracts and corneal abrasions but, more importantly, can be used to peer into the retina of patients to provide a diagnosis of retinal diseases like age-related macular degenerations and retinal detachment.
But isn't this re-inventing the wheel?
Whilst the traditional direct ophthalmoscope has been around for over 160 years it has remained, more or less, unchanged over that period. This technology requires a lot of training and experience to use effectively, often suffers from relatively poor optics and is incapable of retinal photography.
Retinal photography, on the other hand, is currently available using Fundus Camera's there are very large and bulky, not to mention very expensive. Each unit costs in the order of between $20 and $50 thousand dollars.
This prices out most private general clinicians around the world.
This is where oDocs Eye Care comes to the rescue. They are a social enterprise that has reinvented the ophthalmoscope to combine elements of both of these technologies, whilst also keeping it portable. The obvious choice was to integrate with existing smartphone technology to bring cutting-edge eye care to remote areas around the world.
The company has made a range of devices for diagnostic eye care. This includes that latest oDocs nun with novel optics (up to 8 times wider-field of view) all of which are compatible with any smartphones.
But it gets better. The application part can be downloaded from anywhere with access to the internet and blueprints for the device can also be downloaded and 3-D printed in situ.
oDocs nun might be the future of eye-examination
One of their most exciting creations is the oDocs nun. This is a smartphone ophthalmoscope and slit-lamp microscope that has both mydriatic and non-mydriatic retinal imaging capabilities.
oDocs nun is a portable retinal examination device that can be used with a broad range of smartphones running on the iOS and Android platforms. The device can be used independently as a handheld ophthalmoscope or in conjunction with a smartphone.
“The direct ophthalmoscope was invented 160 years ago, the optics remain the same, no wonder many physicians struggle with it”, said Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong.
“It is time for a complete upgrade”
Its likely oDocs nun will be of great use to the primary care sector. It is estimated that as much as 10% of GP visits are due to headaches and associated visual symptoms.
Such symptoms often require the ability to assess the optic disc to exclude papilloedema. With oDocs nun, the clinical assessment can be done with ease.
oDocs nun is set to really shake up the industry from this month when they plan to ship pre-orders. Customers who pre-ordered were treated to a $170 discount and early delivery.
Otherwise, it will be officially launched in the first half of 2019. The company hopes to make it a standard piece of equipment in every practice.
oDocs Eye Care has also developed an AI to help
oDocs Eye Care has also recently introduced MedicMind. This is a world-first artificial intelligence medical platform that has been developed to help medical researchers and clinicians auto-diagnose a range of diseases just by analyzing a photograph.
MedicMind has been built as an open-source system and is currently in its beta testing phase. The idea is to democratize artificial intelligence and deep learning and develop something akin to Google's DeepMind.
The platform can be used to train AI to recognize and diagnose eye diseases.
“The closest thing to this system is IBM’s Watson, but it is not designed specifically for medical researchers,” said MedicMind's spokesman Glen Linde.
“With MedicMind a smartphone app could use a neural network created with MedicMind trained to detect diseases like glaucoma, melanoma, and diabetic eye disease. A layperson using a smartphone app could detect melanoma themselves or a clinician in a hospital could detect eye degeneration from an image of a patient’s retina."
“We have a trained eye doctor, Clark Stevenson, who plans to use neural networks generated with MedicMind on some patients or some students in the future. Stevenson is already testing with Dunedin hospital students.” he continued.
MedicMind is also a cloud-based platform that contributing medical researchers can upload images for their AI training programs. By design, it has been designed to allow as many researchers to contribute to its development without any need for computer programming or coding.
“Researchers could take the neural network created on MedicMind and put it on a smartphone or PC or whatever device they choose, and that device will be able to detect glaucoma from a photo,” said Linde.