MIT Researchers Use iPhone To Detect Cataracts



Here’s another way the iPhone is revolutionizing medicine — it’s now a cheap, portable tool for detecting cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed Catra, a cheap plastic lens that clips onto the iPhone’s screen. Using a simple vision test, the Catra software creates a map of cloudy areas that may indicate the onset of cataracts.

The Catra software can provide a diagnosis within minutes and requires no training. It also works on the iPod touch and other smartphones. It’ll be a boon for use in developing nations, the researchers say.

Below is a video explaining how it works. Catra will be shown off at Siggraph in Vancouver next month.

  • Don Sadler

    So you say IPhone and in the pic it is a IPod.  Fail!

  • martinberoiz

    This is good news. Doctors charge too much for their services nowadays, it’s insane!

  • picco1o

    early onset of cataract… blablabla
    *) nobody will operate on people with early stages of cataract!
    *) hardly anybody in dev. countries can afford the operation
    *) therefore blindness caused by cataract is a problem in dev. countries only

  • esapata

    Did you read the post? It also works with the iTouch and other smartphones (hence the Sammy in video demo).

    Furthermore, doesn’t it seem nit-picky to disparage such a great story over the press picture?

  • Alex-Spider Hewitt

     As someone with an eye condition that could cause blindness (not cataracts, I have blood vessels growing in my eyes where they shouldn’t be). I am quite excited about the prospect of a simple piece of technology that lets people monitor their own eye health. I am always waiting for the next hospital appointment to see how my eye is doing, and being able to check up myself would be awesome. I know this bit of technology shouldn’t work with my condition, but I certainly see why it could be useful.