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Retinography facilitates examinations in remote locations

PHELCOMThe device, tested in the interior of Sergipe, detects causes of preventable blindnessPHELCOM

Health agents used a portable retinal camera developed by the company Phelcom, with funding from FAPESP, attached to a smartphone to examine the retinas of residents of four rural communities in Sergipe between September 2021 and March 2022. The aim was to identify diseases of the back of the eye such as diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. Individuals with severe cases were referred for a consultation with an ophthalmologist. “The device allows patients to be screened for the disease in areas with a lack of specialists. The exam can be performed by a trained operator with remote support from ophthalmologists,” ophthalmologist Fernando Korn Malerbi of the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), one of the coordinators of the study in Sergipe, told Agência FAPESP. From a total of 2,052 people invited for an exam, 1,083 attended. The device, called Eyer Cloud, was launched in 2019 and trialed before the pandemic on 157 Xavante Indigenous people, of whom 60% were diagnosed with diabetes (Bulletin of the World Health Organization, October 1).