A recent study in the Archives of Opthalmology had two Ophthalmologists compare high resolution images of eyes from a standard desktop and an iPhone. They reached the conclusion that the iPhone images were of higher quality and were easy to see.

The researchers noted that sending a high quality image to an Opthalmologist could be used to diagnose certain eye diseases in patients, even when one isn’t readily available.

The study was conducted by Dr. Valerie Biousse from Emory University. She and her colleagues collected data on 350 patients with a headache, changes in eyesight and other signs of vision problems who came to the Emergency Department for treatment. These patients had pictures of the interior of their eyes, like the retina photographed with an iPhone.

“Two ophthalmologists looked at those photos and rated their quality on a typical desktop computer and later assessed 100 of the images on an iPhone. Both reviewers consistently rated the phone images as the same or higher quality on a one-to-five scale than the same photos viewed on the computer. One ophthalmologist said 53 of the photos were the same quality, 46 were better on an iPhone and one was better on the desktop. The other ophthalmologist rated the photos equally 56 times, the iPhone images better 42 times and chose the desktop photos twice.”

The iMedicalApps team has previously discussed the potential uses of the cameras on smartphones to detect various ailments. We noted that Opthalmolgists in Pittsburgh have compared the diagnostic capability of an iPhone against a typical computer workstation for remote photographic evaluation of the fundus in diabetic retinopathy. The results of that study were also promising.

In fact, because this potential for helping patients is real, The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology previously announced the Ocular Imaging Developer Contest. This contest was focused on ending the fragmentation of ophthalmological imaging and patient record-keeping technologies.

While the results of this study are definitely positive, a standardized workflow will need to be created in order to implement this new process.

Dr. Biousse further explains.

“Using (an) iPhone to transmit images to colleagues as a help with patient triage in the ER is a new concept. ER departments are working at improving acute patient care by developing ways to access specialty consultations such as ophthalmology. The next step is to show whether or not the triage and acute patient care are expedited and ophthalmologic consultations can be obtained faster and more accurately when photos are sent from the ER to an ophthalmologist’s smartphone.”

Source: Chicago Tribune