A device called a gonioscope is most commonly used to diagnose glaucoma. This device needs to be pressed against the eyeball of the patient but that might soon change. A new pen-shaped camera called the GonioPEN has been invented and it might make things easier.
Glaucoma is normally caused by a blockage in the drainage channels of the eye. An imbalance is caused by the blockage. This is between the amount of aqueous humor fluid that the eye produces and the amount that is able to drain out. This can damage the optic nerve and eventually cause blindness.
there are a few types of glaucoma and the doctors use a gonioscope, a hand-held glass scope that’s linked to a microscope to determine what kind it is. The total procedure takes about 15 minutes in which the lens of the scope is held against the patient’s eye while the doctor makes observations.
The procedure as you might be able to imagine is not a comfortable one. It also does not allow images to be stored for future observation. There are systems that do involve recording images and have no direct contact with the eye. But, they cost somewhere along the range of $25,000 to $120,000.
That’s where the GonioPEN comes in. It was created by scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Eye Research Institute. The device combines a high-resolution camera with LEDs and is linked to a computer by a USB cable.
It only involves minimal contact at the side of the cornea and captures digital images of the eye from four different perspectives in just three minutes. These images are then examined by a doctor and with the help of a software, he can diagnose the type of glaucoma it is.
The GonioPEN has been tested on 20 patients already and it was unanimously agreed that it is more comfortable than a traditional gonioscope. Once the device is commercialized, it is expected to cost less than $5,000. It will definitely be a help to all the patients suffering from Glaucoma out there.