How the iPhone may improve our eye care

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A shot of the EyeGo, developed by Stanford researchers. (Image Credit: CNET for CBS News)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There are a lot of rural areas in the Tennessee Valley and one day, iPhones may help people in those remote communities get better medical care.

Stanford doctors have found a way to use iPhones for eye care and their technique could have big implications.

Eye exams generally involve using large devices called indirect ophthalmoscopes and slit lamp instruments. They allow doctors to get an up close look at our eyes.

Unfortunately, they have a drawback. As Dr. Dave Myung, resident physician at Byers Eye Institute at Stanford explained to CBS News partner CNET, these complex instruments don’t allow for picture taking.

“If we have some complex findings,” Myung said, “We spend a lot of time describing it in words. Then the next person has to take that and form a picture in their head.”

A team of Stanford University eye doctors think they have a solution. They call it the EyeGo adaptor. The instrument combines many of the items eye doctors already have, including a condensing lens and yes, an iPhone.

This adaptor offers increased function at a low cost – less than $100 per device.

While the EyeGo can’t replace sophisticated medical tech, it could help doctors screen patients at a lower cost in rural communities, catching problems before they become even more serious.

Before the EyeGo can reach Alabama or Tennessee though, the Food and Drug Administration has to approve the instrument.