Eye specialists in most cases detect the defects in the eye than a general physician. A team at Mexico's Medical and Surgical Center for Retina has created a smartphone software that can help general medical practitioners spot eye conditions.
The app is not intended to replace ophthalmologists, but was designed instead to help direct patients to receive a professional screening.
The software was created in collaboration with the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and is able to detect diabetic macular edema and a few other conditions.
The researchers hope that besides assisting in-clinic physicians with diagnoses and referrals, the app can also serve people living in remote areas that normally don't have easy access to ophthalmologists.
"The idea is to detect and prevent diseases in general practice. We are not replacing the specialist, we want to know which patients have a disease and make an early detection," says Dr. Juan Carlos Altamirano Vallejo, Medical director of the Medical and Surgical Center for Retina.
He adds that the technology is designed for general physicians, "who support the health system in Mexico and, even without in-depth knowledge of ophthalmology, can, with this tool, detect certain abnormalities and send the patient to the specialist."