Detecting eye diseases using smartphones and painless nanodelivery of drugs to control blindness!
A software to detect eye diseases
We are on the brink of a revolution in the healthcare industry-with wearables and smartphones leading the way. While wearables believe in the maxim, ‘prevention is better than cure’ and help you monitor your metabolic stats to vital stats enabling you to make smart healthcare decisions; smartphones are being used to detect parasites in blood, for cheap testing of STDs and even help you handle your migraine problems!
Add one more to the list now - A software that detects eye diseases such as diabetic macular edema using a smartphone! It basically uses the camera of the phone to detect any abnormality in the thickness of the retina. All you need is the App on the phone and focusing the camera on the eye and immediate results will be obtained!
This software was a collaboration between researchers at the Medical and Surgical Center for Retina and biomedical engineers from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM, Mexico); primarily aimed at general physicians who could detect the condition and refer the patient to a specialist.
“The idea is to detect and prevent diseases in general practice. We are not replacing the specialist, we want to know which patients have a disease and make an early detection,” says Dr. Juan Carlos Altamirano Vallejo, medical director of the Medical and Surgical Center for Retina.
He adds that the technology is designed for general physicians, “who support the health system in Mexico and, even without in-depth knowledge of ophthalmology, can, with this tool, detect certain abnormalities and send the patient to the specialist.”
Software development for this has been satisfactory and is expected to soon be marketed and incorporated into the basic health system. They believe it will reduce costs and streamline the Mexican health system. Also, it will have high utility in rural communities where specialized opthalmological services are limited, due to the expensive equipments needed for diagnosis.
Nanotechnology-based Drug delivery for Painless Treatment of Secondary Blindness
The same group has also devised a way to transport drugs in people with secondary blindness due to chronic degenerative blindness such as diabetic retinopathy and degeneration of the eye without the use of painful intra-ocular injections. Specifically, they have developed a nanotechnology product, which works with last generation liposomes particles, concentrated in droplets, which function as a conveyor that wraps proteins or antibody fragments and allow its passage into the eye.
By using this nanotechnology-based delivery system, costs have reduced by 80 to 90 percent and it also enables the elderly population to make use of it, due to its ease of use. Patients with conditions such as Diabetic Retinopathy usually require one injection per month which comes at a very high cost and increases if the procedure is needed for both eyes. “With this technology, hospitals that have no resources can apply the needed drugs, without requiring a specialist or a particular facility for the administration. It is necessary to be prescribed by a physician, but it can be administered at home, which lowers the cost. “
The company located in Jalisco (central west state of Mexico) won the Mexican National Prize for Technology and Innovation, plans to conclude the Clinical Research regulated by the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) next year. So far, the achieved results are the same as the ones obtained with intra-ocular injection, but without the inherent risks of this procedure, such as infection or retinal detachment.
Source: Investigación y Desarrollo