African countries are working to incorporate technology in health sectors through mobile apps and other IT solutions being introduced to help ease operations, as well as detect diseases early for effective response and treatment.
In light of this, there is an interesting new development into the App world that helps users detect an abnormality in a child’s eyes for those using the iPhone devices.
Dubbed White Eye Detector, the iPhone app is free to users and is designed to identify the appearance of an abnormal white eye reflection referred to as Leukocoria in photographs.
To use the app, the user can either select individual pictures to scan or choose to have it scan the whole device. In the case the app identifies a picture containing the White Eye, a red box will appear around the eye.
Also designed for iPad and iPod touch, the White Eye Detector app has been optimized for iPhone 5 and is compatible with devices running on iOS 7.0 or later.
White Eye or Leukocoria is realised during flash photography, where instead of the eye appearing with the familiar red-eye effect, a bright white reflection is seen.
White Eye Detector App has also been designed to scan the pictures in real-time by shining the iPhone’s light in someone’s eyes so the software can use the device camera to search the white reflection.
Important to note is while Leukocoria could appear in low indirect light and be rendered harmless, it is a medical sign for a number of serious eye conditions, including the life-threatening retinoblastoma that has the highest incidences reported in Africa and India.
African countries recording high incidences of the eye cancer over the years include Sudan, Tanzania, Benin and Nigeria among others.
Bryan Shaw, the chemist behind the eye disease detector came up with the idea after his son died of the eye cancer retinoblastoma and partnered another scientist Gregory Hamerly to develop the app.
The software was developed through a machine learning program that works to train a computer on how to do things by example.
In a continent where mobile use is growing and smartphone penetration is increasing, the iPhone app will be of real value to parents in Africa as they can detect any problem in their children’s eyes early from the comfort of their homes.
iPhone users can download the app for free here.