Research Alert

Prototype Smartphone App Can Help Parents Detect Early Signs of Eye Disorders in Children, Study Finds


A smartphone application has been developed that can help parents detect early signs of eye disease by searching their children’s photographs for traces of leukocoria, also known as “white eye.” The prototype app (CRADLE: ComputeR Assisted Detector LEukocoia) was engineered to autonomously search for the disorder in casual photos of children and make them available under a free download called “White Eye Detector.” The free app has been made available for Android and iPhone devices. Early detection means that children have better vision, better development, and in the case of retinoblastoma, increased chances of survival. Leukocoria is a medical sign for a number of common and rare conditions, among them retinoblastoma, pediatric cataract, Coats' disease, refractive error, amblyopia and corneal scarring.

The study, to be published online Wednesday, Oct. 2, in the journal Science Advances, was done researchers from Baylor University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This study is the first test of the sensitivity and accuracy of the app at detecting "white eye" in casual photographs.


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