World's First Medical Device Initiative to Save Sight by oDocs Eye Care

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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017
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Retinal examination performed with oDocs visoscope, a smartphone retinal camera

An award winning mobile innovation was launched by a oDocs Eye Care, a New Zealand based social enterprise. The company has introduced a set of smartphone-based devices that would allow healthcare providers to take photos of the human retina.

According to PRNewswire on May 29 that the company has promised to keep the inventions open-source, an altruistic motive to ensure that the products remain affordable and accessible. Furthermore, for every item sold, ten percent (10%) of the profit will be donated to a charity for sight.

oDocs is the brainchild of Dunedin Hospital-based (New Zealand) ophthalmology registrar Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong and Dr. Benjamin O'Keeffe, senior house office of Ophthalmology department at Wellington Hospital. The social enterprise started this bold and ambitious project in 2014 and it took them 3 years of hard work and perseverance to materialise the innovations.

In May 2017, the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards named oDocs Eye Care as New Zealand's Most Innovative Mobile Technology company. The company has won numerous international awards including the prestigious Talent Unleashed Award judged by Sir Richard Branson, and Steve Wozniak.

"This is how disruption is done," said Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.

Dr. Hong and his team have developed a smartphone retinal imaging adapter, also known as visoScope. When attached to an iPhone, the device converts the phone into a retinal camera. oDocs have also released a smartphone slit lamp microscope called visoClip.

"We have made them extremely affordable and accessible to benefit regions most in need. Conventional equipment would cost around US$ 20,000-30,000, whereas our devices cost a hundredth of that," said Dr. Hong.

The open-source devices are also compatible with 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Clinicians could just download the files from the web and 3D print the eye equipment locally, saving both cost and time from a logistic perspective.

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