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These CATRA Smartphone Eyepieces Help Those With Cataracts

By: Omar Yusuf - Published: Jul 7, 2011 • References: web.media.mit.edu and gizmodo
Like polio and smallpox before it, blindness may become a thing of the past thanks to CATRA, an innovative new smartphone device developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cataracts, a condition which clouds the vision of its victims, remains the leading cause of blindness worldwide, yet it's easily treated if diagnosed early on. With this in mind, MIT researchers have been hard at work to exploit the prevalence of smartphone technology in the hopes of reducing cataracts and, eventually, blindness in developing countries.

CATRA comes in two parts: a phone app and an attachable eyepiece. The latter scans your eye and looks for cloudy areas in the lens, which are produced when proteins group together. With a full scan of your eye complete, the application allows users to detect early-stage cataracts and delivers a diagnosis in mere minutes.

Thanks to falling production costs and to the growing abundance of cheap smartphones, MIT and Camera Culture are confident that CATRA will produce tangible effects in the medical discipline and hopefully save lives.