MIT Android Optometry App

an Android phone & a camera-like aperture create a refraction device:


It is pretty cool. Thanks to my friend "MS" for bringing this to my attention.

I'd use it, especially on mission trips, etc.

There are problems with it, however. We have an aberrometer at our office. You'd think it provides *incredibly* accurate information, right? Well...yes & no. One problem with all objective measurements of refraction is that what you "like" to look through is hardly ever exactly the same as what your eye refractive state actually exists as. Why do you think in the age of computers & software we still painstakingly "ask" you what you "like"? Its not b/c we enjoy doing it or even that we O.D.'s think thats more "accurate". Its not. But still. For example almost *NO* farsighted person can tolerate their actual refractive state. They *all* want "less" power than the amount of farsightedness that their eye actually exists as. I could get into why, but the short version is that its fact.

Another problem is that young nearsighted people will *always* "choose" way more nearsighted power then they actually need. This is the main reason why nearsighted power lenses are not available OTC in the US. What's the harm in wearing "too much?"

1) headaches, eyestrain
2) progressive myopia...wearing too much could "make you worse" over time
3) near vision blur

So when you're looking at this Android device, will nearsighted patients still "over focus" and "choose" way more than they need? Probably. If you watch the video, this is still a "subjective" process. Will farsighted people ever find an Rx they can use? Doubtful IMO, especially for youngsters.

Refraction is easy. A computer can do an objective refraction NO PROBLEM. But "prescribing" is not the same as refraction. In the end, no device will ever "replace" the experience needed to be a good glasses-prescriber.

Another problem with any device but especially "hand held" devices to help determine a refractive state is "proximal accommodation". In short, your eye isn't fooled into thinking its looking far away & it focuses accordingly. So is the result affected by this? Almost assuredly so.

If this type of thing makes it to the US market, I'll buy one. It really could come in handy at screenings or mission trips to remote areas. BUT...implying that it could be used to skip an eye exam or "save a trip to the doctor's office" is pretty ludicrous IMO.

What about eye disease? Peripheral vision loss as in glaucoma? What about media opacities like cataracts or corneal dystrophies? How about fitting contact lenses, or irregular corneal topographies? No device will ever be a substitute for an eye exam.

The video makes it sound like anyone could use it & get a great Rx out of it...which I personally kind of doubt. Docs Rx straight from autorefractors & aberrometers all the time...the bad ones do. Those are the ones that get ridiculed on the net & have a bad reputation for writing "bad" Rx's. This ain't as easy as people presume it to be, even MIT types. If it were, why would you need a doctorate to do it?


Popular Posts