Updated 02/17/2013 06:29 PM
Welch Allyn brings eye exams to the iPhone
You can use an iPhone to do just about anything. You can take pictures, have a video chat and now get an eye exam. Skaneateles medical device maker Welch Allyn developed the technology. And they had their first shipment last week. Our Iris St. Meran takes a look at the iExaminer.
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SKANEATELES, N.Y. -- Technology developed by Welch Allyn has made examining the back of the eye faster and mobile. The medical device maker calls it "iExaminer" and all you need is a panoptic ophthalmoscope, the iPhone plus the App.
Product Manager Rick Farchione said, "It allows you to take multiple images of what you're seeing through the ophthalmoscope. So, what is a lot of times, a fleeting image of the fundus or the back of the eye is now frozen on the display of the phone."
That image can be further analyzed for abnormalities like glaucoma and hypertension.
The patient can also see it immediately. I had my eye examined and it took seconds. What's captured can be emailed to a specialist and can be used anywhere in the world. In this video, the device was used on Mount Kilimanjaro.
"The portability is phenomenal. Whether you're an eye care specialist that goes to a nursing home or a hospital or on a mission trip or a remote clinic somewhere in the world," said Farchione.
Farchione says the information is secure because of an encryption setting. And Clinicians are given tools that abide by HIPPA rules to ensure patient privacy. Ultimately, he says the HIPPA regulations are the responsibility of that clinician.
The goal of the iExaminer is not only to give doctors a better view of the back of the eye but also to help with training in medical school.
"Professors really haven't had a way of testing to see the students if they are able to get a correct view of the back of the eye. This product, obviously has enabled that process to happen now. They're able to check to see if the student is actually seeing what they're supposed to be seeing," said Corporate Social Responsibility Director David Allyn.
Allyn is the great-grandson of founder William Noah Allyn. His great grandfather and Dr. Welch created the first hand held ophthalmoscope. He's happy to bring that vision even further.
Allyn said, "He had this vision that front line practitioners really should be doing this process. To now have this device allow that to continue further, he'd be very excited.”
The iExaminer can be used on the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S cameras.