Vision Problems? There’s An App For That

iPhone Ophthalmology

Problems with your eye? Look to the “i”!

Apparently it’s time to add ophthalmology to the iPhone’s already-impressive list of features.

As reported in the July issue of “The Archives of Ophthalmology,” (yes, this exists,) there’s a new study that shows the iPhone may be better at viewing certain types of ophthalmological images than a standard desktop PC workstation.

Specialists in the fields of ophthalmology and neurology recently performed the study at Emory University in Atlanta.

The device used in the study? A four-year-old iPhone 3G. For such brilliant and advanced minds, they sure aren’t up-to-date on their technology! I hope they didn’t use a Commodore 64 as a basis for comparison.

Using settings focused on mimicking a hospital emergency room, the team reviewed a series of 350 images that were collected from patients. These images contained – eyeballs (big surprise.) More specifically, indications of certain eye injuries such as headache, focal neurological deficit, and high diastolic blood pressure.

Know what those last two mean? Neither do I.

When reviewing the images on the ancient iPhone, reviewers assigned higher ratings on average than the same images reviewed on a PC with a 19” display.

Surprised? So were they:

“We expected equal or lower-quality ratings for photographs displayed on the iPhone compared with the desktop computer, but instead we found that reviewers assigned higher ratings on average for photographs displayed on the iPhone. Because the magnitude of this difference was similar for both reviewers and no bias in the other ratings was observed, we believe this occurred because the advantages of the iPhone’s display (eg, higher dot pitch and brightness) outweighed its disadvantages (eg, lower resolution and smaller screen area).”

But don’t go throwing away your existing ophthalmology tools just yet. The team admits that further studies must be done to build on these findings, and no one is suggesting that an iPhone can cure what ails you (eye-wise.) Existing ophthalmology tools and screening procedures cannot be replaced anytime soon.

However, iPhones could indeed help in emergency departments when it comes to certain vision conditions. Did someone call an iAmbulance?

Connecting with your local Ophthalmologist via FaceTime may not be that far-fetched either. The research team suggests that the iPhone (and other smartphones, no doubt,) could be used in telemedicine, a growing field that uses technology to allow remote consultations and treatment services.

So first it’s DIY skin care diagnosis and now this, leaving us all with one burning question: Is there anything an iPhone can’t do?

[via Cult of Mac]