3D modeling and printing is a fairly new phenomenon, but it has already made an impact in our lives, especially in healthcare in developing countries. A couple of months ago we reported on Canadian researchers who created the first 3D printed prosthetic.
Now this technology is being used in eye health. Nearly 300 million people worldwide have some form of visual impairment. While the vast majority of visually impairments are either preventable or curable, most visually impaired people live in developing countries, where healthcare and medical centers are limited and costly.
Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong is an eye doctor who last year founded OphthalmicDocs, a firm that develops low cost tools to prevent blindness. He was first exposed to the problems in developing world healthcare while practicing in Kenya, Malaysia and Nepal. He witnessed firsthand that access to expensive fundus and retina cameras for basic eye check-ups was limited.
Dr. Chiong has developed a series of 3D printed eye imaging adapters that can be used in conjunction with a mobile app and a smartphone, and can conduct eye diagnostics testing even in areas of the world where a medical center is nowhere to be found. The device costs no more that US$40.
OphthalmicDocs may have found a promising solution to a simple but important problem.
Check out a TED talk where Dr. Chiong further discusses his innovations: