Researchers that work at the Medical and Surgical Center for Retina have developed a software to use on smartphones, which helps detect eye diseases like macular edema from diabetes. The medical team is hoping that general physicians will be able to use this software on their smartphone in order to detect specific eye conditions, and then refer the patients to see a specialist.
The technology so far is designed for the general physicians in Mexico who without training or knowledge of ophthalmology will be able to detect the abnormalities in the patient, and then refer the patient to see a specialist for further evaluation.
This technology will also likely end up coming into the United States as well, especially in the rural communities where seeing an eye doctor is not so easy, since most rural doctors do not have the skills to detect the eye diseases themselves.
For Mexico, this new instrument will help reduce costs associated with the medical system, since immediate results will be seen with the smartphone, and this eliminates the need of expensive equipment, tools, procedures, and dyes in order to make a diagnosis. Prevention of eye diseases will also cut down on costs, since you can treat an eye problem before it gets to the point of blindness a lot cheaper than trying to deal with a blind person.
For people with diabetes, this new route will help them know whether they are coming down with macular degeneration, edema, and diabetic retinopathy, which is also a lot easier and cheaper to treat in the beginning stages as opposed to later stages when laser surgery is the only hope.
The best part about this new integration into the health system is that it will help general physicians gain experience and knowledge about conditions outside of their field. By using the phone, they will only need to know basic medical knowledge in order to judge the situation they are looking at, since all of the diagnostics will be coming from the smartphone.
General physicians are usually who people see the most often due to it being cheaper than seeing a specialist, which also means that more people will be able to be tested for eye diseases without spending the money on seeing an eye doctor, and then worrying about the out-of-pocket expense associated with that.