July 5, 2011

Detect Cataracts using Smartphones, MIT’s Catra

With MIT’s Catra, you can detect cataracts using smartphones. Catra is a low-cost, hand-held alternative to slit-lamps, the $5,000 device traditionally used to check an eye for cataracts.


Catra is an add-on for smartphones, iPod. Catra sweeps a beam of light across the eye. It  “scans the lens of the eye and creates a map showing position, size, shape and density of cataracts.”

Initially, with it’s low-cost and portability, Catra will allow more people to be checked for cataracts. Eventually, with its more detailed map of the eye lens, it will potentially enable doctors to make tinier surgeries rather than remove the whole lens.

Cataract when left untreated leads to blindness. It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Fortunately, there is a simple procedure to fix it.