Dr Mario Giardini & Dr Iain Livingstone with a slit lamp used in virtual...
Dr Mario Giardini & Dr Iain Livingstone with a slit lamp used in virtual examination.
Source: University of Strathclyde

The 5G 4K tele-examination of an eye

A trial tele-ophthalmology system pioneered by the University of Strathclyde and NHS Forth Valley, has paved the way for what’s believed to be one of the world’s first tele-examinations of an eye streamed live using a 5G smart phone.

The system uses a live video feed to securely connect doctors, opticians and patient through a mixture of 3D printed technology developed at Strathclyde, and the Scottish Government funded Attend Anywhere Video Consultation Platform.

The technology has now been harnessed to allow a live tele-examination using a 5G connected smartphone attached to a portable slit lamp, which emits an intense beam of light, to provide a live image of an eye. The examination was streamed live to NHS Forth Valley consultant ophthalmologist Iain Livingstone at a conference in Edinburgh last week, by director of digital innovation at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Peter Thomas, who used an image of his own eye.

Dr Livingstone was able to carry out a virtual examination, showing a high enough quality image could be streamed in real time, opening up great potential for telemedicine in the future. NHS clinical entrepreneur Chrishan Gunasekera also assisted with the tele-examination, which used London’s and Edinburgh’s brand new 5G network and allowed a full consultation without the need for a clinic.

Dr Mario Giardini from University of Strathclyde’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, said: “The emergence of 5G technology offers vast opportunities for medicine and healthcare. We demonstrated in this consultation how effective and valuable it can be as a tool for diagnosis and decision making. “The quality of telecommunications is now allowing the transmission of very detailed images, and we expect that telemedicine will soon reach the same clarity as in-person consultations, connecting remote areas to doctors, and promoting equality in access to healthcare. “These results clearly underline the importance of collaboration between technology research and development, doctors, and healthcare infrastructure.”

Remote examinations

NHS Forth Valley consultant ophthalmologist, Iain Livingstone, said: “I was excited to see the first ultra-high resolution tele-ophthalmology call via the 5G network. “Keeping pace with these technological advancements means we can send and receive remarkably high definition video referrals which are particularly useful for relaying fine detail during a remote eye examination.”

Peter Thomas, director of digital innovation and consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “This demonstration marked a significant turning point in tele-ophthalmology as we were able to deliver such detailed images in real time, using readily available equipment.”

The Strathclyde and NHS Forth Valley emergency tele-ophthalmology network has now become standard practice within Forth Valley and is also being piloted across other Scottish health boards. Patients who may have previously needed to attend hospital can now often be examined by a distant specialist ophthalmologist at their local optometrist or accident and emergency department. Providing detailed examinations remotely could also increase the access to specialist advice for patients in under-resourced countries, providing there is a good internet connection and some low cost equipment.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Medical technology 2020 – a review

Medical technology 2020 – a review

Covid-19 gave many of these predictions for 2020 an entirely new spin: while some of the hyped trends turned out to play only bit-parts others became box-office hits in the new normal.

'Origami' testing app tackles spread of malaria

'Origami' testing app tackles spread of malaria

A new approach to tackling the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, which combines affordable, easy-to-administer blood tests with machine learning and unbreakable encryption, has generated encouraging early results in Uganda.

Using AI to generate 3D holograms in real-time

Using AI to generate 3D holograms in real-time

A new method called tensor holography could enable the creation of holograms for virtual reality, 3D printing, medical imaging, and more — and it can run on a smartphone.

Advanced tech enables simulated sinus surgery

Advanced tech enables simulated sinus surgery

The world’s first international online training session utilizing advanced 3D sinus models and a telemedicine system has taken place.

A future vision of trauma care

A future vision of trauma care

In 2032, a man lies critically injured on a remote road following a car accident. His life is in the balance, but data visualization, remote robotics, biofabrication and virtual care will combine to give him the best possible chance of survival.

A 'smart' sensor bandage for chronic wounds

A 'smart' sensor bandage for chronic wounds

Researchers are developing an oxygen-sensing patch printed on a flexible, disposable bandage that could enable remote monitoring for the early detection of illnesses.

A 3D printed microscope for everyone

A 3D printed microscope for everyone

The open-source system from the 3D printer delivers high-resolution images like commercial microscopes at hundreds of times the price.

COVID-19: AI system monitores vital health signs

COVID-19: AI system monitores vital health signs

A key symptom of COVID-19 – oxygen saturation – is now being estimated remotely from a camera, thanks to research from University of South Australia (UniSA).

A 3D printed bluetooth enabled stethoscope

A 3D printed bluetooth enabled stethoscope

The digital stethoscope that makes it possible to listen to the heart and lungs of their patients while standing up to 50 feet away.

Popular articles

Subscribe to Newsletter