There are a variety of tools available to help Ophthalmologists with eye examinations.  A new hardware and medical apps solution turns the iPhone into an ophthalmoscope.  Called the iExaminer, this simple iPhone 4 peripheral connects the popular Welch Allyn PanOptic ophthalmoscope to the iPhone 4, and then a native medical app helps you perform a fundus exams and share videos and images right from the iPhone.

Two key applications for this:

1) Teaching: For medical schools that are teaching eye examinations — instead of having to look at static pictures of eye anatomy, this “live view” could be an optimal and innovative way to teach. This could also be a great way for an ophthalmology attendings to save key eye pathology that they visualize in the mobile setting for teaching purposes.

2) Use in mobile clinics: This could be a good screening tool for various eye pathology — and not necessitate the need for an ophthalmologists or physician to be on site.  A physician could view the saved images at a later time and determine correct interventions.

Created by Intuitive Medical Technologies, the iExaminer walks a person through the maneuvers in an eye exam:

“The iExaminer app also walks users through a full eye exam including visual acuity, pupils, ocular motility, visual fields, intraocular pressure and cobalt blue light for external examination. Because the unit is held with both hands, the patient is at arms length and the iPhone screen is viewed with both eyes allowing alignment to be more natural and comfortable for both practitioner and patient. “

Currently, the iExaminer is only meant to be used with the iPhone 4 and will not work on the iPod Touch or the iPad. It has been tested in a clinical setting and can be used by physicians and technicians. Simultaneous video and high resolution photographs are taken.  The best photos from the imaging session can then be selected, saved, printed and emailed.

“The complete unit is extremely portable so now the camera can be taken to the patient instead of the patient being taken to the camera. It is also a valuable tool when seeing consults and debilitated patients. Photos can be printed wirelessly from anywhere there is a network connection.”

A video demonstrating how the product works can be seen below.



Total Price for the setup: iExaminer app: $10 (in-app purchase) ; iExaminer Hardware: $179 ; Welch Allyn PanOptic (at least $500 to $1000). Clearly, the overall setup ends up being very expensive.

Hat Tip: Medgadget

Cory Schultz contributed to this post