Now an Eye Phone!

DQI Bureau
New Update

According to a report 'Childhood blindness in India: A population based

perspective', an estimated  1.4 million children in the world

are blind, two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. The cause

of blindness in children vary according to region and socio-economic

development. Retinopathy of prematurity is one of the reasonable

contributors and causes of preventable infant blindness.

to Sight

Childhood blindness is one of the priorities of WHO's Vision 2020: The
right to sight. It is in this context that Bengaluru-based Narayana

Nethralaya in collaboration with i2i TeleSolutions (also based in

Bengaluru) evolved a unique href=""> telemedicine

software, CARE TeleOphthalmology software that allows screening of

rural and semi-urban infants for a potentially blinding condition

called Retinopathy of prematurity (RoP) along with other conditions

including ocular cancers.

Says Sham Banerji, CEO of i2i TeleSolutions (the software partner for
the iPhone for ophthalmologist), “We started off

with our software that could be used in remote areas in laptops. But we

understood the problem and realized another delivery vehicle for the

specialists and ophthalmologists could be cellphones. We chose iPhone

because iPhone provides real time viewing of lossless digital images of

eyes, anywhere and anytime, remote screening and expert consultation

for ophthalmic diseases, rapid select and compare facility from

multiple studies, and the pinch and drag facility that the iPhone


The key worklist that can be included in iPhone using the software are
server based patient records and images available online, customized

content, easy consultation and collaboration between specialists over

cellular networks, and multiple levels of encryption and security. The

iPhone Teleophthalmology client application is a part of i2i CARE

platform and has been key in providing wireless access of patient

information and ophthalmic images. Key requirements for the service

includes subscribed access to i2i Connect services through WiFi or

mobile network or an iPhone or iPod touch models running iPhone OS3.0

or higher.

According to Banerji, “There are diseases such as diabetes,
heart diseases, diseases related to premature babies, cancer that are

directly related to vision. Our model for i2i is to enable healthcare

service providers with the software as well as the services.”

The iPhone has different kind of touch technologies ranging from old

resistive touch to the modern capacitor touch technology which has the

pinch and drag capability. The software allows monitoring of high

resolution images of eyes even in rural areas making patient treatment


The pilot project which will stretch to approximately 36 months
according to Narayana Nethralaya will also provide healthcare services

to other hospital and institutions specially the ophthalmologists. An

interesting thing about this project vis-a-vis other projects is that

it starts from a city (Bengaluru), to a state (Karnataka), to country

(India) and then worldwide rather than the other way round.

According to Dr Bhujang Shetty, Chairman of Narayana
Nethralaya,“With the experience of over 56,000 images of

infant retinas in our database, we required a dedicated web-based

software with progressive viewing to speedily allow access to our

experts at the base hospital. This quest lead to the development of

this new technology.”



Key advantages of using iPhone incorporating such software includes
faster data transmission with no packet loss, higher image quality,

minimum storage space, and low operating cost. Scarcity of

ophthalmologic care in the poor, remote rural areas, due to problems of

communication and lack of transport facilities, has made it difficult

for people to get an early diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.

Consequently, there is a high prevalence of blindness in the country.

However hospitals and service providers have left no stone unturned of

making this challenge as an opportunity and are very optimistic that

with the use of such applications they would be able to deliver

healthcare services effectively and literally be 'Visionaries' for

rural India.