That’s truly Eye-Catching! The Smartphone App Can Detect Early-Stage Alzheimer’s With a Selfie of Your EYE

By: | May 10th, 2022

Image courtesy: Digital Health Lab

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

Alzheimer’s affects one in every 14 people aged 65 years and 1 in every 6 people over the age of 80 years. As per estimates, there are currently more than 55 million people living with dementia worldwide.

Yet there’s no simple or reliable test for diagnosing the disease

Now, scientists from the University of California San Diego have developed a smartphone app that could detect the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, based on a selfie of the eye.

Pupil measurements assess a person’s cognitive condition 

The app tracks minute changes in a person’s pupil size by using a near-infrared camera, already built into smartphones for facial recognition along with a regular selfie camera. The app can calculate pupil size with sub-millimeter accuracy.

Why Pupil?

Previous studies have shown that pupil size can provide information about neuro function. The pupil is a black hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to strike the retina. The retina senses light and sends signals to the brain so we can see. Pupil size changes when a person performs a difficult cognitive task or hears an unexpected sound.

The first author of the study, researcher Colin Barry from the University of California said ‘While there is still a lot of work to be done, I am excited about the potential for using this technology to bring neurological screening out of clinical lab settings and into homes,’

.’We hope that this opens the door to novel explorations of using smartphones to detect and monitor potential health problems earlier on.’

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

More articles from Industry Tap...