Medical equipment has always been very expensive. Even bolts, nuts or those small lamps inside your beloved slit lamps cost a hundred times more than the ones you can buy in any hardware store.
But a few years ago, a silent revolution started to take place in the manufacturing world: 3-D printing.
A daily growing crowd of people, so-called makers (some of them even board-certified eye doctors), tried to subvert the rule. One of them did it.
Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong, a young ophthalmologist born and raised in Borneo, medically trained in Ireland and now practicing in New Zealand, realized a fully functional, digitalized retinoscope using a 3-D printer, a 20 D lens and a smartphone for just a few bucks. I tried it, and it is so very simple.
Chiong had an idea in mind: “Ending preventable blindness is my fight, what’s yours?”
He established in 2014 “oDocs Eye Care” (www.odocs-tech.com), an innovative company in the field of portable eye care, trying to reinvent eye equipment.
Chiong realized a 3-D model can be freely downloaded, printed and used all over the world with any consumer 3-D printer. It takes a few hours to print the object and a few minutes to assemble it. So now you can easily take sharp and brilliant retinal images in your private practice, a patient’s home or a remote African village.