A recent study evaluated the capability of smartphones to capture images of the fundus in both human and rabbit eyes.

The study, published in Journal of Ophthalmology, was conducted by a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear teaching hospital at Harvard University using the “Filmic pro” app for the Apple iPhone and a 20D lens, with or without a Koeppe lens. The system was tested on children under anesthesia, adults who were awake during the procedure and rabbits.

The researchers extracted high-resolution still photographs from the footage after recording the exam, thanks to the advanced capabilities of the app, coupled with the 20D lens. Using a Koeppe lens further improved the results.

Previously, researchers concluded that the iPhone’s native video capture capabilities were not adequate for retinal examination, but the “Filmic pro” app offers users advanced control over the video capture process, such as direct control of focus, exposure and lighting.

The rapid advances in smartphone technology are leading to limitless potential for their use in the field of health care. Using smartphones in the exam room offers practitioners a far more affordable option for clinical photography than highly expensive professional cameras. The technology also gives eye care professionals a powerful, portable tool for conducting ocular examinations outside of the exam room. More technological advances in smartphone technology will only further increase the capabilities of these devices in and out of the exam room.