3d images

Inexpensive device takes 3D images to detect eye disease

An inexpensive device capable of capturing 3D images could transform eye screening and treatment, predict researchers at the University of Strathclyde.

The device captures 3D images of the retina, fundus and cornea, and can be inexpensively added to a slit lamp, a device commonly used by optometrists.

Patients with conditions such as glaucoma, which is the third most common cause of visual impairment worldwide and affects an estimated 7.7 million people, are often diagnosed by highly trained specialists, who look at pictures and give a subjective opinion on the 3D structure of the back. of the eye.

Although there are instruments for 3D imaging, including optical coherence tomography technology, the machines can cost upwards of £100,000 which often makes them too expensive for large-scale use, especially in low-income countries.

However, optometrists around the world have access to slit lamps. The new technology is a simple and inexpensive addition to a standard lamp, and can extend 3D eye imaging to all environments where optometrists are present.

Image credit: university of strathclyde

A modified version of the technology has the potential to create 3D retinal “selfies” without an operator, meaning it could be deployed in unattended environments like pharmacies.

The same technique can also be used to image the front of the eye, which is important for corneal transplant patients, as many machines cannot measure the edge of the cornea.

Researcher Dr Mario Giardini said: “Patients can be imaged easily and inexpensively, without the presence of a specialist. Our device takes 3D images reliably, comfortably and quickly, in less than a second.

“The technology has the potential to revolutionize community screening and monitoring of conditions such as glaucoma, as any optometrist anywhere in the world could afford. This work makes eye diagnostics more accessible, reducing inequalities.

Dr Iain Livingstone, consultant ophthalmologist at NHS Forth Valley, said: “A lot of what we do as ophthalmologists depends on seeing things in 3D. While photographs can be helpful, this innovation uses visible light to recreate a high-fidelity 3D representation of ocular structures, allowing precise measurements to be taken in a completely new way, building on the examination method we we already do regularly.

“It’s a crucial addition to how we interpret information, harnessing digital to glean much more than a slit-lamp exam, with potential reach far beyond the hospital into optometry. community, bringing nuanced measurement tools closer to patients’ homes.”

Researchers also hope it can eventually be used to detect eye cancer and replace ocular ultrasound devices.

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