An ophthalmoscope is a device used to examine the back of the eye. This is useful for diagnosing everything from glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, to detecting brain tumors. As you would expect from anything related to medicine, these devices cost a lot, making them inaccessible for most of the world’s population. This project for the Hackaday Prize is for an ophthalmoscope that can be built for under $400.
An ophthalmoscope is a relatively simple device, that really only requires a clinician to wear a head-mounted lamp and hold a condensing lens in front of the patient’s eye. Light is reflected off the retina and into the clinician’s view. Of course, the simplest ophthalmoscope requires a bit of training to get right, and there’s’ no chance of being able to take a picture of a patient’s retina to share with other clinicians.
The Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope gets around these problems by using a digital camera in the form of a Raspberry Pi camera module. This camera, with the help of a 3 W LED, is able to image the back of the eye, snap a picture, and send that image anywhere in the world. It’s a simple device that can be constructed from a few mirrors, a cheap lens, and a few 3D-printed parts, but is still very valuable for the detection of ophthalmological disorders.