Pocket-sized retina camera

Camera can photograph the retina without need for eye drops

Colin Kerr

Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dr Bailey Shen from University of Illinois at Chicago, in conjunction with researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School in Boston, has created a portable camera that can photograph the retina without the need for eye drops.

According to a report in Medical News Today the camera is based on a cheap, single-board computer, designed to teach children how to build and program computers. The board links to a basic infrared camera, and a dual infrared- and white-light-emitting diode.

With the new camera, infrared light is emitted to focus the camera on the retina before a brief pulse of white light is fired, and the picture is taken.

Dr. Shen, and co-author Dr. Shizuo Mukai, recently published details about the camera and how to build it in the Journal of Ophthalmology.

“In the 1970s, personal computers used to be prohibitively expensive, but nowadays, most people own a smartphone capable of doing much more than those computers from the 1970s. Hopefully, medical devices will also become cheaper, more portable, and more accessible in the near future,” Dr Shen told Medical News Today. “We are trying to turn our prototype non-mydriatic camera into a smartphone dongle so that we can further reduce its cost and size.”