Smartphone adapter, sensor implant make mobile glaucoma monitoring possible

A smartphone can be used as a glaucoma monitor thanks to a pressure sensor implanted into a patient's eye and a special optical adapter fitted to a smartphone camera, according to a report at New Scientist.

A research team, led by Yossi Mandel at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, believes the mobile device system will help patients better monitor the degenerative eye disease and avoid unnecessary doctor visits.

The tiny sensor is implanted into a synthetic lens that replaces the natural lens for those suffering from cataracts. A software app is used to analyze intraocular pressure (IOP) measured by the sensor. Accurate eye pressure readings are vital to the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, which is the second common cause of blindness worldwide, according to the report. As IOP can fluctuate due to various factors, including a person's body posture, readings can be misleading.

"This sensor, with its ease of fabrication and simple design, as well as its allowance for IOP home monitoring, offers a promising approach for better care of patients with glaucoma," according to an abstract of the study. 

The device is one of the latest developments that uses smartphones for improved eye-related diagnosis and treatment.

As FierceMobileHealthcare has previously reported, one new smartphone adapter is providing a simple and low-cost method in optical care imaging. The device features low-cost macrolens, LED external light source and a universal attachment system, according to a report in the Journal of Mobile Technology. The adapter eliminates the need of the slitlamp technology used in documenting ocular pathology and imaging of the anterior segment of the eye.

Another new smartphone app is helping make pediatric vision photo screening a more effective diagnostic approach for identifying potential risk factors tied to vision loss long before a child's vision impairment is typically noticed.

Currently eye pressure sensor lenses can only be used for a short time but Mandel believes his can remain in a patient's eye for many years, according to the New Scientist article. The researcher also suggests that a standalone sensor implanted in front of the eye's iris could ultimately solve the temporary use challenge.

To learn more:
- read the New Scientist article
- read the report abstract

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