A team of doctors from Hyderabad has designed an OIO that can be reproduced by anyone for less than $400 and will improve diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.
Did you know that close to 30% of diabetics — both Type 1 and Type 2 — suffer from diabetic retinopathy or damage to blood vessels in the retina that can result in loss of vision? Half the diabetic population is unaware of this risk. With the disease taking on epidemic proportions in India — it affects over 65 million Indians and the number is estimated to rise to 109 million by 2035, according to this 2015 report — this is a cause for concern.
The prohibitive cost of retinal imaging devices — in the range of $10,000-$25,000 — makes them inaccessible people in rural areas or developing countries, a major hindrance in diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. One of five diabetics in India suffer from diabetic retinopathy.
A Hyderabad-based team of doctors and engineers has come up with a low-cost, open source device called an Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope that can help improve diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy
An ophthalmoscope is a device used to examine the interior surface at the back of the eye. This examination is essential for diagnosis and early detection of everything from glaucoma to diabetic retinopathy and also helps in detecting brain tumors.
As with most medical equipment, ophthalmoscopes tend to be expensive, making them inaccessible to a majority of the population, especially in developing countries.
The OIO designed by the Srujana team will cost under $400 to build, making it easy to reproduce and, thereby, be more accessible to people from developing countries.
The OIO will cost under $400 to build, making it easy to reproduce and, thereby, be more accessible to people from developing countries
Once the pupils of the patients’ eyes have been dilated using a medicated eye drop, the device is placed on their face across their eyes at the correct distance, determined by their vision. After this, retinal images are taken by the camera module with the help of a 3-Watt LED. At present, the OIO is capable of taking a nearly 40-degree retinal picture.
The images thus taken are saved on the device and can also be uploaded to a computer for diagnosis. They are then run through a machine learning algorithm to help grade the diabetic retinopathy on a score of severity from zero to four.
The team has already developed and deployed two OIO devices at the L V Prasad Eye Institute, and is currently testing and evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of the devices. They are also developing a device that can be used for undilated examination as that is more convenient for the patient.