Device could revolutionise eye treatment and screening

Medical Devices

A revolutionary low-cost device developed by Kirsty Jordan, Dr Ian Coghill, and Dr Mario Giardini from the University of Strathclyde takes 3D images and could transform eye treatment and screening worldwide.

The device captures 3D images of the cornea, the back of the eye and the retina; it can be added at a low cost to a slit lamp, a device frequently used by optometrists.

“A revolutionary low-cost device takes 3D images and could transform eye treatment and screening worldwide. “

Patients with conditions such as glaucoma, a prevalent cause of visual impairment across the world, with nearly eight million people affected, are often diagnosed by well-trained professionals who look at photos and give an opinion on the structure of the back of the eye.

The new technology is simply an add-on to a lamp and can broaden 3D eye imaging to all settings where optometrists are present. It is said to be so simple that an altered version of the technology brings the potential of 3D retinal photographs without an operator. Therefore, it could also be used in unassisted settings, such as pharmacies.

The technology can further be used to image the front of the eye, which is essential for cornea transplant patients as most machines can’t measure the edge of the cornea.

The next step is to make the technology accessible to the medical community with a new partnership between the University and IDCP, a digital innovation group, to turn it into a medical product.

Dr Giardini stated: “Patients can be imaged inexpensively and easily, without the need for a specialist to be present. Our device reliably takes 3D images and is comfortable and fast in less than a second. The technology has the potential to revolutionise the screening and follow-up within the community of conditions such as glaucoma, as any optometrist, anywhere in the world, could afford it. This work makes eye diagnostics more accessible, reducing inequalities.”

Dr Iain Livingstone, consultant ophthalmologist, who has collaborated with Dr Giardini on multiple ophthalmology projects, stated: “So much of what we do as eye doctors depends on seeing things in 3D. While photographs can be helpful, this innovation uses visible light to re-create a high fidelity 3D representation of eye structures, allowing precise measurements to be taken in a completely new way, piggybacking on the method of examination we already do routinely. It’s a crucial addition to how we interpret information, harnessing digital to glean so much more from a slit lamp exam, with a potential reach far beyond the hospital toward Community Optometry, bringing nuanced measuring tools closer to home for patients. This addition turns a slit lamp into a ‘3D eye scanner’ with potential to supplant ocular ultrasound for measuring solid tumours of the eye.”

Jan Boers, CEO of IDCP group, stated: “Working with the University of Strathclyde to develop new technology for eye screening has been very productive, and this development will be a significant step for enabling more accurate, accessible, and cost-effective solutions to eye diagnostics globally. This is a great addition to our activities in the field of eye screening with RetinaScope and IDCP Scotland.”

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