Some of the most common eye-related diseases are avoidable and display strong risk factors before onset, but it is much harder to identify the people who are at risk of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve which is estimated to affect 79.6 million people worldwide and, if left untreated, causes irreversible damage. In most cases, blindness can be prevented with appropriate control and treatment.

Glaucoma is associated with elevated levels of intraocular pressure (IOP), and an accurate, non-invasive way of monitoring an individual’s IOP over an extended period would help to significantly increase their chances of maintaining their vision.

Sound waves used as a mobile measurement method would detect increasing values of IOP, prompting early diagnosis and treatment.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham in England have successfully carried out experiments using sound waves and an eye model. Coauthor Dr. Khamis Essa, director of the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Group, commented: “We discovered a relationship between the internal pressure of an object and its acoustic reflection coefficient. With further investigation into eye geometry and how this affects the interaction with sound waves, it will soon be possible to use a smartphone to accurately measure IOP from the comfort of the user’s home.”

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