A pilot study for smartphone photography to assess bleb morphology and vasculature post-trabeculectomy. Int Ophthalmol 2021;41(2):483-490.Abstract.
PURPOSE: The current grading systems used for bleb morphology assessment in patients post-trabeculectomy are based on standardized slit-lamp photographs and anterior segment imaging devices. The lack of availability of these expensive and non-portable devices in resource-deficient settings is a significant deterrent in their widespread utilization for proper post-operative management. The rapidly evolving utilization of smartphone photography has significantly benefited diagnostics of posterior segment disorders and is now being increasingly utilized for monitoring anterior segment pathologies as well as post-surgical course. In this study, we study a novel use of smartphones for bleb photography for assessing the morphological characteristics as vascularity and microcysts. METHODS: In this pilot, observational study, we compared the trabeculectomy bleb images of five subjects, obtained by iPhone X (dual lens) and iPhone 6S (single lens). We captured two image sets with both smartphones first with a focussed torchlight and then with a built-in flash video light. RESULTS: The images resulting from the newer iPhone X were substantially superior than those from iPhone 6S. For the 12-megapixel dual-camera set-up on the iPhone X, the 1 × lens resulted in better images than the 2 × lens with contrast and overall clarity of the area of interest. While the macro-lens attachment had promising results at 1 × zoom, there is no added advantage of the macro-lens attachment as it resulted in considerable loss of image quality at twice the zoom. Using a 20 D lens helped attain higher magnification and better framing as it reduced the focussing distance needed to get sharp images. The images obtained from both smartphones were of higher quality when illuminated from an external source when compared to the native iPhone flash due to even exposure and fewer autofocus artefacts. CONCLUSION: Analyses of all image sets showed that the current generation in-built camera app on IOS and newer iPhone camera optics resulted in high-quality images of the ocular surface with high magnification without any loss in clarity.