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Spot brings long-overdue update to vision screening

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February 27, 2012

Spot is a new camera-like device for detecting vision problems

Spot is a new camera-like device for detecting vision problems

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For the past 150 years, ophthalmologists have used the Snellen chart - with its rows of letters in descending sizes - to check patients' vision. While it has done the job reasonably well, PediaVision CEO David Melnik believes that his Spot device offers some distinct advantages. Most importantly, instead of being required to read and recite letters, patients simply look into the device as it takes some pictures. Based on those images, it will proceed to notify clinicians if it detects potential vision problems.

Patients simply sit down and look into the front of the device, focusing their vision on its blinking red, amber and blue lights - a "chirping bird" auditory cue can also be used, to attract the attention of young children. It then takes a series of photos of the patients' eyes using infrared light, all within no more than one second.

By analyzing those images, it is able to determine if their vision is "in range" or "out of range." Should a patient fall into the "out" category, a screen on the device will instantaneously display the name of the likely problem, and advise that a more complete eye exam be performed. Conditions that Spot can identify include near- and far-sightedness, unequal refractive power, eye structure problems, pupil size deviations, and eye misalignment.

Spot can be used with young children who are not yet able to speak clearly

That data is stored in pdf format and can be transmitted via Wi-Fi or stored on a USB flash drive, for use by an ophthalmologist.

According to the company, Spot is superior to the Snellen chart in that patients don't need to be able to read or speak, so it could be used with pre-verbal children or patients with a different native language than the clinician. It also assesses their vision in its regular state, instead of as they're unnaturally straining to read letters.

Spot was introduced in the U.S. last September. A somewhat similar system, DOES, is currently in development at the University of Tennessee.

Source: PediaVision

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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1 Comment

That is great. I Can't wait till they automate the process of selecting the best lense

1 or 2 , 3 or 4, 3 or 5, 1 or 2 ummm can i see 2 again, 2 or 1. i can never decided. last time i got glasses they were totally off because of some poor choices in best.

flying Spaghetti monster
28th February, 2012 @ 10:01 am PST
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