How the iPhone Can Help Detect a Cataract

Geniuses at MIT have come up with a relatively cheap way of detecting cataracts in the human eye by using an iPhone and a clever attachment.

The CATRA system is a hardware device that attaches to an iPhone (and presumably other devices). The CATRA then uses the screen output to detect cataracts.

While we’re sure that the underlying technology is much more complicated than that initial explanation, we’re sure you get the gist…

Now for the science bit,

“Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.  Existing diagnostic methods require Slit-lamps. We propose (CATRA) a new solution to detect and quantify cataracts with a compact eyepiece attached to a cell phone. With no moving parts and built from off-the-shelf components, our solution is well suited for the developing world.”


Much more information, as well as plenty of videos and explanation on just how CATRA works, can be found at the MIT website, and we highly suggest you check it out.

The ability to detect cataracts without the need for expensive equipment, or skilled optometrists, could be a real win for countries for which both are in short supply.

With cataracts being the leading cause of blindness, that has to be a very, very good thing indeed.