One day, your humble webcam could test you for eye disease

Thanks to work being done by a pair of researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee, something as simple as a webcam could be diagnosing your eyes as well as a trained ophthalmologist.

Before we get to that point, however, Ken Tobin, a scientist, and his partner Edward Chaum, an ophthalmologist, have a smaller stepping stone they want to clear. They've created a company called Automated Medical Diagnostics (or AMDx) with the aims of provided a nerve center of software for eye exams.

Consider this: you go to the doctor because your eye is hurting. Instead of having to wait to see a specialist, a nurse could simply take a few pictures and email them to AMDx's, which in turn would compare your images to those of known problems. Quickly and easily you'd know what you have, and whether or not it was serious enough to need to see a specialist for.

The company is currently testing how the system works with clinics in Mississippi and Tennessee, though Dr. Chaum is making sure that the computers get the diagnosis right — something that takes a scant 90 seconds per case. Ultimately, Chaum and Tobin want AMDx to basically run itself, as they believe that the software will greatly improve how quickly and accurately we scan for eye complications.

Just imagine the day when instead of having to run to your doctor you just fire up your webcam. A sick child could be identified before they even walked into a clinic and everything could be ready and waiting to treat them.

Via Technology Review