The innovation in Ophthalmology is the integration of ophthalmic technology and the smart phones. One of the biggest manufacturers of equipment for medical diagnostics, Welch Allyn, introduced iExaminer which is device that supports certain models of iPhones for ophthalmic tests. iExaminer is an ophthalmic equipment which incorporates hardware and respective software that enable it to capture, store, send or retrieve eye images through iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Ophthalmologist will be able to use iExaminer in tandem with PanOptic Ophthalmoscope. PanOptic Ophthalmoscope can create view area of fundus and retinal nerve in a pupil which appearing multiple times larger than the view through a conventional ophthalmoscope. PanOptic can even magnify the view by 26% to facilitate detailed retinal examination.
The function of iExaminer is to align the optical access of PanOptic to visual axis of iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. High-resolution images of retinal nerve and fundus of the patient can then be captured. The image can be as a patient file and sent as email with the help of iExaminer software. The captured images can be printed as well. Thus, the issues with accessibility can be effectively dealt with the help this ophthalmic equipment, if iPhones are available. This innovation can have great impact on eye treatment. Optical clinics that are not equipped with certain advanced devices may use IExaminer and PanOptic to send images to more well-equipped clinics and receive the examination results accordingly. It will considerably save time and money and allow quick access to various clinics or experts.
An incident reported by the inventor of iExaminer, Dr. Wyche Coleman, would further establish the significance and efficiency of his invention. Dr. Coleman visited Africa along with his innovation where he was able to capture an image of the fundus of a local without any major ophthalmic equipment. He then sent the image from Mount Kilimanjaro (where he captured the image) to a doctor at John Hopkins University which is situated in the US. As a result, the image of a sub-Saharan African was examined and studied in the US which would never have been possible without iExaminer. If appropriate ophthalmic equipment is available everywhere then, at least, an iPhone can.
Presently, iExaminer is available in selective markets but the prospects that it has promise to spread it far and wide. Communication devices have long been used for purposes more than just communication but this would be the first time they can be used for medical examinations, thanks to iExaminer and Welch Allyn PanOptic Ophthalmoscope.