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Smartphone adaptor allows convenient recording of photos and images in ophthalmology practice

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The potential of a revolutionary adaptor for ‘smartphones’ that allows telemedicine, surgery recording and high-quality digital imaging during ophthalmic clinical exams, was showcased during the 2013 Irish College of Ophthalmology Annual Conference in Killarney, Ireland.

Princeton Lee MD, an ophthalmic surgery specialist registrar in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, gave a presentation on the ‘clip- on’ adaptor device he has created, which can be used to easily attach the majority of smart phones to slit lamps and operating microscopes.

This enables the capturing of digital images and videos with sound, of ocular examinations and procedures, and allows the digital files to be transferred to a computer via Wi-Fi or a direct connection.

“The other models that have been developed to date are phone specific and have limited adaptability to fit eyepieces of differing diameters. The difference between my design and what is currently available in the market is that my design can connect different brands of smartphone to eyepieces with varying diameters,” he told EuroTimes.

While the optical quality of ophthalmic examination instruments is very high, the lack of a built-in camera in most devices prevents the digital recording of important clinical information, Dr Lee told the conference, when explaining his rationale for designing the device.

Smartphones contain relatively high- quality cameras and file sharing capabilities, are widely available and portable, and by using the adaptor provide a very cost- effective way of digitising high-quality clinical images and videos for ophthalmic practice, he maintained.

The ease of transferring files from a smartphone to a computer allows rapid record keeping and is convenient for the clinician. For example, images can be used for personalised patient consultations and monitoring of progression, Dr Lee explained.

Telemedicine 

The device also enables the use of telemedicine by allowing the doctor to remotely assess the patient via a video telephone call, on Skype for example, with the adaptor attached so high-quality images and video can be seen directly in the clinic.

The adaptor can also be connected to the assistant eyepiece on an operating microscope allowing the viewing of live surgery in a remote location making it a useful education and teaching aid, especially in underdeveloped or disadvantaged areas, he told the conference.

Dr Lee is now in the process of patenting his device and negotiating with a manufacturer so that his adaptor can be purchased by the ophthalmic community in the near future.

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