A new machine can look into the eye for signs of ill health
WHETHER or not eyes are windows to the soul, they can provide a view of a person’s health. Eye problems are not the only things to show up; recent studies indicate that eyes can also reveal the presence of broader disorders like heart disease, stroke threats, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Frequent eye monitoring may help detect these ailments early, and now a new device promises to make that easier.
Retinal imaging is best left to professionals, not least because a doctor needs to get a patient’s eye in precisely the right position to see all the blood vessels inside. Even so, Tristan Swedish of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, a place where diverse disciplines often collide in remarkable ways, speculated that it might be possible to create a device that would allow patients to take snapshots of their own retinas.
Working on the principle of “if you can see me, I can see you”, Mr Swedish describes his idea in an upcoming issue of the Association of Computing Machinery Transactions on Graphics. He generates a red light that shines through tiny holes to make it look as if there are four red lights in a diamond formation in his device. Patients initially see the lights as rather dim dots but, as they move their eyes around, they quickly notice that the dots become brighter when they look in a specific direction. When these dots become particularly bright, a second diamond of dim red lights becomes apparent inside the first four. The person then moves their eyes again until they can see all eight bright lights forming a diamond within a diamond.
Read more: Retina selfie
The Latest on: Medical self-diagnostics
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