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Smartphones aid emergency room eye diagnoses

Smartphones may be the new tool used by emergency room physicians to aid them in diagnosing common eye problems. Study results were published in the Archives of Ophthalmology and the results stated that inner-eye photo images on a iPhone were of a higher quality than images on a desktop computer. In the study, researchers collected information on 350 patients with a headache, changes in eyesight and other signs of visual disturbance who were treated in an emergency room. An ocular camera was used to take photos of the interior of the eyes, including the retina. These images were then evaluated by two ophthalmologists who rated their quality on a desktop computer and then evaluated 100 of the images on an iPhone. Both of the ophthalmologists consistently rated the iPhone images as the same or better quality than the same pictures viewed on the computer. If emergency room doctors are able to send images to ophthalmologists via smartphones, it could be very beneficial to hospitals around the country who do not always have access to an ophthalmologist. The next step in the research will be to demonstrate whether or not using the smartphone will expedite acute patient care and if ophthalmologic consultations will be able to be set up faster. Utilizing the smartphone would not replace the need for a complete eye exam for the patient.

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