Fundus imaging of the human eye is an important diagnostic tool in Ophthalmology. It helps in an early diagnosis, monitoring and management of retinal pathology. Digital fundus imaging is extensively used in this regard. The access to fundus photography is sometimes limited by patient morbidity, high equipment cost and the shortage of trained personnel in countries like India. MII RetCam developed by Retina specialist Dr Ashish Sharma, Lotus Eye Hospital and Institute in Coimbatore and team is an inexpensive, innovative smartphone-based fundus camera device that can capture central as well as peripheral retinal pictures. With the help of the instrument, high-quality fundus pictures and videos can be taken. It’s also suitable for use in remote areas, which lack medical infrastructure and are grossly under-served.
According to a report in Economic Times, Sharma said, “The MII Retcam bridges the gap between the general ophthalmologists, diabetologists and retina specialists by easy sharing of images and quick consultation leading to prevent millions of people going blind with the disease in a cost effective manner.”
After practicing for three years in the US, Sharma returned to India in 2009 with the desire to build a device that was cheap, could shoot high-quality images and be portable enough for use in remote areas. Sharma realised the smartphone camera’s autofocus capabilities give it a distinct edge over comparable devices.
The device offers the prospect of drastically lowering the cost of such scans, which is a crucial element of diabetes management. Apart from exacerbating cardiac risks, diabetes can also cause severe damage to the kidneys and the eyes—hence the need for regular monitoring. Besides, the number of people needing these checks is set to increase exponentially given India’s diabetes epidemic. The device weighs about 100 grams and costs Rs. 19,999.