Smartphones can be used to diagnose cataracts, prevent blindness
With dual-core chips and blazing fast download speeds, the smartphone becomes not only a pocket computer, but the ultimate all-around gadget. While the possibilities for using it seem endless, it hasn't gotten as much of practical medical usage, but this is slowly changing. Scientists at MIT have come up with a clip-on accessory known as the Catra system. You basically look through it and see lines – if some of those are blurred you might get an early diagnosis for a cataract, a clouding that develops in the lens of an eye causing vision loss. The early diagnosis allows you to get proper treatment and prevent blindness, while if caught late, doctors can't do much with the progressing cataract.
Currently, the only tool for diagnosing cataracts is an expensive $5,000 slit lamp, which you could only find at an optometrist. Without that tool cataracts can only be detected at later stages. The new Catra system has been tested on 22 patients and one of them got an early diagnosis, which a doctor could not detect.
Other health-related iPhone apps include Skin Scan and Handyscope for early detection of skin cancer, but reports about it are mixed and there is also a tool claiming it diagnoses malaria by analysing pictures of blood samples taken with a magnifying lens.
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