July 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM ET
The resolution of yesteryear’s iPhone 3G may be good enough for eye doctors to make some diagnoses, according to a study that compared image quality displayed on the smartphone and a computer screen.
The researchers expected the computer images to be equal or superior to those on the popular handheld gadget, but instead found, on average, higher ratings assigned to the iPhone.
The findings don’t mean you get to skip your annual visit to the eye doctor any time soon, but it could aid emergency room decision making by sending snapshots to on-call eye doctors and even make remote diagnoses possible.
The Emory University-led team collected up-close and inner eye images of 350 patients complaining of headaches, blurry vision and other ailments. Two ophthalmologists were then asked to grade the images on general quality.
The eye doctors first viewed the images on a desktop computer; six weeks later they viewed 100 randomly chosen images on an iPhone 3G.
“Both reviewers tended to rate an image’s quality on the iPhone as superior to that same image viewed on the computer display,” the authors report in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.
The team, led by Cedric Lamirel, the iPhone’s superior display outweighed the disadvantage of a smaller screen and lower resolution.
Before smartphones find their way into your eye doctor’s toolkit, more research is needed, but “our results support the iPhone’s display as a potential component in a telemedicine network,” the researchers conclude.