Samsung is using old Galaxy smartphones in combination with a special camera for mobile eye examinations in developing and emerging countries. The discarded phones will not only be used to take pictures, but the photos will also be analyzed to detect eye diseases. This makes medical examinations much more favorable and easier to perform than at an ophthalmologist’s office.
According to Samsung, the Eyelike fundus camera, along with the reused Galaxy smartphones, is already being used in Vietnam, India, Morocco and Papua New Guinea. There, patients are screened with this diagnostic camera for conditions that can lead to blindness, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
EYELIKE fundus camera displays at Samsung Developer Conference 2019
Mobile eye checks for developing countries
While the attached camera lens can capture the back of the eye, the phone stores the images. According to Samsung, these are analyzed directly on the smartphone using artificial intelligence methods for an initial diagnosis. A connected app then suggests treatment methods.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.2 billion people suffer from some form of visual impairment. Nearly half of these cases were preventable or still require treatment. As part of the "Galaxy Upcycling Program" with reused smartphones, Samsung wants to address around one billion of these cases of visual impairment.
Use in Germany conceivable
This is not new. As early as the beginning of 2019, the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) declared that eye examinations can be performed using a modified cell phone camera. Serious eye diseases are to be detected and treated early in this way. This will primarily benefit people in emerging and developing countries.
But also in Germany the use is conceivable. The DOG explained that the main advantages of this method are the low acquisition costs for the devices and the high mobility. In nursing homes or rural regions, the eyes of bedridden patients could be examined more easily. According to DOG, the captured images will then be transmitted to an eye clinic for viewing and evaluation.