The red reflex test is used by ophthalmologists to detect destructive eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma among children and adults. In the test, doctors shine a bright pointed light into a patient’s pupil in order to get the reflection of the retina’s color, red, which indicates a healthy eye. Any other color can mean a disease or tumor growing. In order to better identify patients who would benefit from early treatment, it is necessary for patients to have early detection of these diseases. However, this is difficult for the people that do not have any access to doctors due to distance and money. This is why I built the iCare app that allows patients to quickly screen for cataracts and identify the risk of the disease. The app has two crucial parts that work together 1) The lens 2) The algorithm. I designed and 3D printed a lens that attaches to the smartphone camera which allows the user to take a clear picture of a red reflex. The algorithm portion of this app allows the user to take a picture of the eye’s red reflex. Then those raw images are sent to the server where the machine learning algorithm analyzes the images to determine the risk of having cataracts.
What inspired you (or your team)?
I shadowed an ophthalmologists during the summer at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California Irvine (UCI) where I noticed that a major part of their check-up for patients is the red reflex test to make sure that everything is healthy at the back of the eye. About 45% of children from ages 0-5 and 42.8% of adults from the ages 40-64 skip eye check-ups which could form harmful diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinoblastoma without them noticing. To take actions to prevent this, I got the idea to create an app that allows one to take a red reflex test that screens for cataracts and detect the disease.