The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has designed an eye screening technology that is affordable and accessible through a wider section of people.
The computing technology Eye PAC created by the Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC) at IIT Madras is used for extracting information from eye images. HTIC is an R&D Centre formed as a joint initiative of the IIT Madras and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India to address the unmet needs for healthcare technologies in the country.
The technology can be deployed to create screening and diagnostic solutions for a range of vision-threatening diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. HTIC has collaborated with Forus Health, a young Indian med-tech company that has indigenously built 3nethra, an ophthalmic imaging system. This custom solution enhances visual appearance of eye images produced by 3nethra and locates disease signs that may lead to vision loss at a very early stage. K. Chandrasekhar, Chief Executive Officer of Forus Health said: “Powered by HTIC’s Eye-PAC technology, 3nethra has now reached over 140 installations across 10 countries including India, China, France, Thailand, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Oman, Mauritius, and Somalia.”
Dr. Mohanasankar, IIT Madras faculty, who heads HTIC said “considering the shortage of doctors, we felt that there was a need for a technology that allows eye screening to be done even by a non expert.This can act as a first level of screening so that only the needy patients are referred to the experts.”
Eye-PAC technology’s intelligence in extracting clinically important information enables screening for eye diseases even when an expert is not available. Those who are tested positive during screening can later be sent to an expert for referral and diagnosis. Dr. Mohanasankar said “This capability of Eye-PAC combined with 3nethra’s ability to perform eye-examination without dilatation saves time for the patient.”
IIT Madras Director, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi said, “It is a matter of great satisfaction that IIT Madras has been able to, within two years of its inception, partner with an Indian tech start-up to develop a world class product with tremendous impact in bridging the gap in ophthalmic screening.”