By Adrian Galbreth
A mobile phone application has been developed that can test a person"s eyes and produce an accurate contact lens prescription.
The software, called the Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment (Netra), was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A small, plastic device containing a lens is clipped onto the front of a mobile phone and the patient looks into this then presses the phone"s keys until sets of parallel green and red lines on its screen overlap.
This process is repeated eight times for each eye with the lines at different angles and then the software uses the data recorded to calculate the person"s prescription.
"Our device has the potential to make routine refractive eye exams simpler and cheaper and, therefore, more accessible to millions of people in developing countries," said professor Manuel Oliveira, who helped to develop Netra.
Last month, charity Action for Blind People stressed the importance of eye tests.
It advised members of the public to schedule regular appointments with a professional, as these can identify any changes in eyesight and the development of certain diseases.
by Adrian Galbreth