This Eye Scanning App Can Screen People for ADHD, Alzheimer’s, and More

A new smartphone app developed by researchers at the University of California San Diego is capable of screening users for neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or ADHD, by scanning their eyes, CTV News reports.

Eye scan

The app, which will be presented at the ACM Computer Human Interaction Conference on Human Factors in Computing this weekend, will also let people assess themselves for schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s Disease, among other conditions.

Researchers say the app analyzes how a person’s pupil dilates when processing a challenging cognitive task. Studies have shown that people with cognitive impairment tend to show more pupil dilatation as compared to those without them. 

“We hope that this opens the door to novel explorations of using smartphones to detect and monitor potential health problems earlier on,” said first author Colin Barry.

The app takes advantage of the two front-facing cameras found on most modern smartphones. The phone’s selfie camera is used to capture the distance between the phone and the user. The app also uses the phone’s infrared camera, equipped on phones that support facial recognition technologies such as Apple’s Face ID, in order to differentiate the pupil from the iris.

Researchers say while there is still a lot of work to be done, they are “excited about the potential for using this technology to bring neurological screening out of clinical lab settings and into homes.”