“Being there” has never been easier. With a couple of iPhones and the kind of virtual reality (VR) headset used in video gaming, a group in England has invented a way to make three-dimensional (3D) videos that display what otherwise can only be seen directly through a slit lamp or an operating microscope.1
3D TOOLS. Video recorded through a phone attached to each of the eyepieces and played through a VR headset creates a stereoscopic viewing experience.
New approach to the stereoscope concept. The group’s novel technique connects 2 iPhone 4S’s to a slit lamp or an operating microscope. Each of the smartphones records a video through one of the eyepieces. The 2 videos are then synchronized, with the images side by side, into a single video displayed on an iPhone, which is then placed in the VR headset for 3D viewing.
“It is the same principle as the stereoscope, which was invented in the 1800s, but using modern technology,” said Kevin Gallagher, FRCOphth, a registrar in the department of ophthalmology, Royal Free Hospital, London.
Smartphones in the Clinic
Thinking of bringing smartphone photography into your clinic? Get started by reading “Smart Phoneography” on EyeWiki, for a primer on how to take slit-lamp images and videos with an iPhone.
Educational applications. In many situations, 3D is superior to 2D viewing, he said. For example, in cataract surgery, where there are changes in anterior depth or instrument position, 3D makes it easier to appreciate these changes in depth. “Seeing surgical techniques in 3D can convey more information than the same video in 2D,” he said.
With the advent of this new technique, that information may become more accessible. “There are other systems that can produce 3D video from the operating microscope, but these systems are not cheap and not widely adopted,” Dr. Gallagher said. “The idea was to have a technique that could be used by anyone without the need for expensive equipment or technical expertise.”
1 Gallagher K et al. Eye. Published online Jan. 22, 2016.
Relevant financial disclosures: Dr. Gallagher—None.
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