Eye diagnostics a hot mHealth area

click to enlarge The Gimlet Eye spied earlier this week that California startup iCheck Health Connection, which has a series of mobile app patents around eye diseases, has raised $750,816 of a $3.6 million offering (SEC filing) in what is presumably an angel round of funding. What was surprising in the Mobihealthnews article were their five patents around eye diagnostics: video games meant to monitor retinal diseases and visual field loss in glaucoma,  as well as “eccentric photorefraction, pupillary light reflex and the corneal light reflex eye screening tests in infants and young children.” The Eyes seem to have it lately with MIT Media Lab’s EyeNetra spinoff in July filing with the SEC their raise of $2 million of a $2.5 million round for their Netra-G app and attachment, which measures nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism [TTA 9 July], Sensormed Triggerfish’s diagnostic contact lenses [TTA 31 July] and eye tracking as a stroke diagnostic [TTA 18 March]. Only last night Editor Donna at Health 2.0 NYC’s ‘Killer Apps for Healthy Living’ (KA4HL) saw Joshua Weiss, CEO of app developer TeliApp present his latest project, a mobile slit lamp sleeve that would fit over a standard smartphone and view the inside of the eye in clinical quality. (The office slit lamp is distinctly not mobile and costs between $2,500 and $5,000.)  The app would also enable a non-opthamologist/optometrist to flag eye issues as well as permit remote diagnosis in a home visit, in emergency response or by combat medics. It just went on crowdfunder MedStartr for a $16,000 funding towards an anticipated $160,000 raise for a prototype. (See Josh’s presentation at KA4HL here–registration required–at 01:50:57)

Contributing Editor Charles adds: there’s also an impressive mHealth app just announced in the UK that was developed by doctors in London and Glasgow to help diagnose serious eye conditions in the developing world called the Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK).  Around 39 million people around the globe are blind, 90% of them in low income countries; 80% of cases could apparently be avoided if health workers could reach them with affordable equipment.  PEEK is set to replace standard ophthalmology kit costing more than £100,000 with a £300 smartphone producing equally good results.

Trained health workers first assess a patient’s vision by flashing progressively smaller letters onto the screen.  Then they use the camera to check the lens of the eye for cloudy cataracts.  Finally, by attaching a special clip to the camera and switching on the flash, they are able to check the retina at the back of the eye for diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.  The images can be sent back to a hospital for assessment, along with the precise GPS coordinates of the patient’s location so they can be found later and treated.

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