Can You Test Your Vision Using Your Cell Phone?

July 11, 2010

In late June, MIT announced a new simple and low-cost device that affixes to a cell phone and can provide quick eye tests throughout the developing world.  Researchers noted that the two standard systems for determining a prescription for eyeglasses to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are the (i) phoropter (fitted with dozens of different lenses that can be swung into place in front of each eye in various combinations, while the patient tries to read a standard eye chart on the wall ahead), and (ii) aberrometer (that shines a laser into the eye and uses an array of tiny lenses to measure its characteristics, with no interaction from the patient).

MIT’s new device clips onto the front of a cell phone screen. The patient looks into a small lens, and presses the phone’s arrow keys until sets of parallel green and red lines just overlap. This is repeated eight times, with the lines at different angles, for each eye. The whole process takes less than two minutes, at which point software loaded onto the phone provides the prescription data.

Preliminary testing with about 20 people has shown the device achieve results comparable to the standard aberrometer test.

Read the full release on the MIT website.




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