Press Releases

MIT Camera Culture Group Presents the eyeSelfie Camera

Courtesy of Camera Culture Group/MIT Media Lab
Courtesy of Camera Culture Group/MIT Media Lab
Image courtesy of Camera Culture Group/MIT Media Lab

Image courtesy of Camera Culture Group/MIT Media Lab

The eyeSelfie is the brainchild of the MIT Camera Culture Group, headed by Ramesh Raskar at the MIT Media Lab. It is a relatively inexpensive hand-held device whose sole purpose is to allow you and me, untrained health personnel, to take selfies of our eyes — or more precisely, to take a photograph of the retina, the optic nerve, and the vasculature, which is located all the way at the back of the eye.

What’s the point of eye selfies?

Digital snapshots of the interior of the eye can help physicians detect and treat vision-threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy early. New research indicates that the snapshots can also be used to identify risks factors for hypertension, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, retinal photographs are not widely used as health indicators but in the future they may serve as a window of our health. And instead of having to go to your optometrist, get dilating eye drops and let trained personnel operating bulky and expensive imaging equipment take the pictures, you will be able to do so yourself, more frequently.

To take clear retinal images and to obtain the right alignment, you look into the binocular-type camera and, moving the device slowly about, align two sets of red four lights until a ninth one appears in the middle. You then press the shutter button to record the image.

Those who have used a rangefinder camera will understand how it works right away. Apparently, it only take about 10 minutes to get the hang of it. The illustratio0n above is only an approximation of how the alignment works.

At present, we still need experts to analyze the retinal snapshots qualitatively, but researchers are working on algorithms that will automatically alert you if your retinal selfie doesn’t look great. Slowly, we seem to be moving toward a future when getting a health check may not require you to take a day off, travel far away, sit for hours with sick people in a waiting room and wait weeks for the results.

Read more at: MIT