NETRA to revolutionize the field of ophthalmology


MIT researchers are aimed at bringing innovation in science and technology. Recently, a team of researchers at MIT has developed an amazing device called NETRA (near-eye tool for refractive assessment); the device will bring revolution in the field of ophthalmology.

For several years doctors have been using huge and expensive machines for prescribing eye related problem including; refractive error of eye, near sightedness, far sightedness and other vision problems. These devices are not only expensive but also difficult to use. However, using NETRA things are quite convenient. NETRA is a small plastic device that could be easily attached to a cell phone screen. The device consists of a wave front sensor called Hartmann-shack; this object replaces the conventional laser technique with the simple user interaction, making the device inexpensive yet more effective.

For an eye check up the device is clipped to the screen of a cell phone, the patient looks up in the cylindrical body attached to the front of the cell phone screen. The patient sees number of red and green lights that can be adjusted through the cell phone control until they overlap. After which the device calculates the results for the eyesight.

The device has greater application in the developing countries. There are about 2 billion people all over the world having some sort of vision problems, and all of them are not facilitated with a proper eye care solution especially in Asia and Africa.

As the device costs about $2 only, it would provide poor people access to a proper eye checkup. The researchers conducted the test using iphone 4G and Nexus one, the result were comparable with any other machine serving the same purpose.

One of the great advantages of the device is its portability. Doctors can move from place to place easily carrying the device, particularly when working in rural areas.

The device could be of great use in Pakistan, where every year many people lose their vision because they had no access to proper eye checkup at initial level. There are hundreds of villages in Pakistan where people don’t get proper eye treatment and some of the people can’t even afford it.

Researchers are hoping to launch the device soon in Asia and Africa.

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