The researchers' group developed the innovative ' pen camera' that can help doctors to provide the fast and accurate diagnosis of glaucoma. GonioPEN has the ability to detect glaucoma making images of the eye's drainage canal. This technology is cost-effective. Furthermore, the device doesn't require the direct contact with the eye that is much more comfortable for the patient. Scientists hope that this novel development will be integrated into the process of the routine eye check.
The device was invented by the group of scientists, led by Associate Professor Murukeshan Vadakke Matham, from the Nanyang Technological University (NTUni), Singapore in cooperation with researchers, led by Professor Aung Tin, from the SERI.
The increased intraocular pressure causes the destruction of retinal cells and the atrophy of the optic nerve. The brain stops to receive visual signals. A certain pressure in the healthy eye is constantly maintained due to the balance of inflow and outflow of the fluid. The circulation is disturbed that is lead to the fluid accumulating and increasing of the intraocular pressure. The blood (lat. Sanguis) supply to the eye is impaired. It is a progressive disease leading to irreversible blindness. To identify the onset of glaucoma, a simple measurement of intraocular pressure is not enough. It is necessary to study in detail the ocular fundus and the optic nerve disk, and also to investigate the fields of vision, that is, to conduct a thorough diagnostic inspection.
During the process of diagnosis of this disease, scientists usually use gonioscopy, which is glass scope. It should be pressed against the patient's eyeball in order to provide medics look into the drainage channel to identify causes. The process takes about 15 minutes and requires a proficient expertise to detect the problem on the spot. This is not performed within the standard medical examination.
The most significant advantage of GonioPEN is that it has the ability to provide more detailed photos of the eye drainage canal with the minimal contact with the cornea. The specially designed software is used to analyze pictures, assisting medics with the process of diagnosis. The researches result demonstrated that 20 patients, which was diagnosed by the device, noted that it is more comfortable than current methods. The GonioPEN is able to capture it in just 3 minutes high-resolution digital pictures. Images, which can be analyzed by the eye specialist, curtailment the time when the patient needs to be under the microscope.
The GonioPEN device includes a camera and LEDs in order to take a high-quality picture. The prototype costs $5,000. Therefore, this device is convenient for physicians providing a quick and accurate detection and analysis of the eye, and for the patient, because it does not bother much time and does not create mental and physical discomfort. Furthermore, scientists have mentioned that this device, due to its characteristics such as compactness, precision, speed, and ability to integrate with other medical devices, can be used as part of standard medical examinations, making them accessible to all people due to its low cost.