Most common eye-related diseases have identifiable risk factors before onset and thus are avoidable. For instance, in diabetic retinopathy, diabetic individuals are particularly at risk and are constantly monitored for tiny bulges in the eye’s blood vessels.
Scientists have found that early diagnosis and treatment are possible by using soundwaves to detect increasing values of an individual’s intraocular pressure (IOP).
Since glaucoma is associated with elevated levels of IOP, this can substantially increase the chances of maintaining vision.
IOP is the pressure created by the continued renewal of eye fluids and is an important measurement of healthy vision. Ocular hypertension results from an imbalance in production and drainage of aqueous fluid and occurs commonly in older adults.
Dr. Khamis Essa, co-author, explained, “We discovered a relationship between the internal pressure of an object and its acoustic reflection coefficient. With further investigation into eye geometry and how this affects the interaction with soundwaves, it is possible to use a smartphone to accurately measure IOP from the comfort of the user’s home.”
Currently, IOP is measured by applanation tonometry in which numbing drops and non-toxic dye are put in the patient’s eyes. This method has many problems and measurement errors.
A thin central corneal thickness (CCT) (by natural occurrence or procedures like laser eye surgery) is an independent risk factor of glaucoma. This results in artificially low readings of IOP when measured with applanation tonometry.
A full eye examination is the only way to verify accurate reading, which isn’t possible in a mobile situation. The equipment is also too expensive for long-term home monitoring.