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Publication numberUS3903870 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 9, 1975
Filing dateFeb 4, 1974
Priority dateFeb 4, 1974
Publication numberUS 3903870 A, US 3903870A, US-A-3903870, US3903870 A, US3903870A
InventorsBerndt Wolf-Dieter
Original AssigneeApplied Optics Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for ocular self-examination
US 3903870 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Berndt 1 Sept. 9, 1975 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OCULAR SELF-EXAMINATION [75] Inventor: Wolf-Dieter Berndt, Neptune, NJ.

[73] ASS1gnC".I Applied Optics Corporation,

Neptune, NJ.

221 Filed: Feb. 4, 1974 2| Appl.No.:439,067

[52] US. Cl. 128/2 T; 351/18 [51] int. C1. A6"! 3/00 [58] Field of Search 128/2 T, 2 V. 2 A; 351/17, 351/18, 39

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,642 771 6/1953 Guist 128/2 T X 3.3110269 1/1967 Schultz 128/2 T X 3.371.660 3/1968 Carlin U 128/2 T 3,417 754 12/1968 Smart .1 351/16 X 3,664,631 5/1972 Guyton H 351/17 X 3.780379 12/1973 de Guillebon i, 351/16 3 787 1 12 1/1974 Lyons 351/18 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [535,696 7/1968 France 128/2 T 170,870 10/1934 Switzerland .v 351/18 Primary Examiner-Kyle L. Howell [57] ABSTRACT An inexpensive, hand-held device to permit a patient to perform a self-examination of the eye and thereby determine if he should seek professional help.

The device comprises what is almost a perfect point source of light, to wit. a bulb. and a short length of fiber optic. Means are provided to position the fiber end precisely at the anterior focus of the eye.

2 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures PATENTED SEP 975 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OCULAR SELF-EXAMINATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention Broadly speaking, this invention relates to methods and apparatus for detecting disease in the human body. More particularly, in a preferred embodiment, this invention relates to methods and apparatus for performing a self-examination of the eye, the pattern thereby detected serving to warn the user to consult qualified professional advice if abnormalities are noted.

2. Discussion of the Prior Art As is well known, in any general physical examination, the examining physician always examines the interior of the patients eye with an ophthalmoseope. This is done because the condition of the eye, and its ability to respond to rapid light changes, is a barometer of the general health of the patient. Among the diseases that can be detected in this manner are cerebral syphilis, tabes, diabetes, prodromal chronic gloucoma, encephalitis lethargica, hypertension, cateracts, burns and lesions, ptomaine poisoning, botulism, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans never have a routine medical examination because they are either "too busy or because they cannot afford it. Thus, in many cases, these serious diseases are not detected until it is too late to take effective corrective action, whereas had they been detected earlier, they could have been arrested or completely cured.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION What I propose, therefore, is a simple, inexpensive technique for self-examination of the interior of the eye and an apparatus for performing the same. It is specifically not intended that the user diagnose the conditions that he observes in his eye. Rather, he is given with the self-examining instrument charts which give him just enough information to realize that a potentially serious condition may exist. He is then urged to seek professional diagnosis and in this regard the invention is not unlike a thermometer which will indicate to the user that he has an abnormal condition (i.e., a high or low temperature) without attempting to indicate any of the hundreds of medical factors or diseases that might be responsible for that condition.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. I is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Of interest to an examining physician is the condition of the patient's retina, the spherical rear surface of the eye containing the optic nerve and the light receptors, the iris, and the lens. Disease may affect any or all of these elements. The retina may be observed directly, but the iris and lens are checked by observing the degree of accommodation that the patient has. Accommodation, of course, is the power of the eye to change focus as an object of interest is brought closer to or further from the eye lens.

It is well known that a human eye has an anterior focus such that ifa point source of light is placed at the anterior focus the eye lens will form a parallel beam of light within the eye. Put another way, if a point source of light is placed at the anterior focus of the human eye, the light rays correspond to a uniform diffuse radiator of energy which is refracted and collimated in parallel rays by the eyes optics.

I have discovered that this phenomenon enables the viewer to see" his own visual system. That is, he can see" the condition of his retina and readily observe scar tissue, shadows suggestive of tumors, etc. Further, because a point source of light is employed, the size of the image seen is controlled by the pupil opening and the particular state of the observed occular accommodation.

Hence, when the device to be described below is switched on, the observers accommodation will change and he can observe the motion of his iris and the pupil opening. The spot size covers the macular region of the human retina, the centroid of human vision. It is, thus, possible for the observer to detect physiological changes such as cataracts, tumors, burns, etc., anywhere in the eye from the cornea to the retina. Also, if any paralysis of accommodation is present, e.g., from syphilis, food poisoning, diabetes, gloucoma, etc., this will also be detected.

As previously discussed, it is not necessary, and indeed not desirable, that the user be able to associate any particular image or pattern with a particular defect or disease. It is sufficient if he is merely alerted to the fact that professional help should be sought.

FIG. I depicts an illustrative apparatus for practicing the methods of this invention. As shown, this embodiment comprises a hand-held instrument 10 comprising an outer casing 11 which is not unlike a conventional flashlight in construction. The casing includes a plurality of batteries [2 which are forced into engagement with a bulb 13 by a spring 14. A simple slide switch 16 completes the electrical circuit to lamp l3. An optical fiber 17 is passed through an aperture in an opaque end piece 18 so that one end thereof is proximate the bulb 13. A flexible rubber cup 19 is fastened to the end of the casing II to limit how closely the other end of fiber 17 may be brought to the eye and to exclude extraneous light.

Fiber 17 may be clad or unclad and will typically be in the order of I0 mils diameter, or less. For most individuals, the anterior focus is about 16 mm from the cornea, so fiber 17 extends from opaque end piece 18 such that when the flexible rubber cup is pressed into engagement with a human eye 20, the distance d will be about 16 mm. Of course, if the anterior focus of the user is less or greater than 16 mm, the flexibility of the cup will enable the user to adjust the fiber-to-cornea spacing at to the exact anterior focus, which is easily found. The flexibility of cup 19 should not be so great, however, as to permit the end of fiber 17 to touch the cornea of eye 20.

FIG. 2 illustrates another embodiment of the invention for use where portability or expense are not so important. This latter embodiment may be used, for example, in the examining room of a doctors office, etc.

As shown, in this embodiment a flexible optical fiber 26 is connected at one end to a flexible cup 19' and at the other end to a box 27 including a bulb I3, an ac. transformer 27 and a line cord 28. In this embodiment, the batteries 12 are eliminated and a more powerful bulb may be employed, if desired.

In use, with either embodiment, the flexible cup is brought into engagement with the users eye and positioned until the end of the illuminated fiber is precisely at the anterior focus. The retinal pattern is then observed and compared with typical patterns furnished on cards to the user. Next, the light is switched on and off and the action of the retina noted. Finally, the size of the observed image is compared to typical images furnished to the user, as a check on accommodation. The other eye is then checked in the same manner.

One skilled in the art may make various changes and substitutions to the arrangement of parts shown without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, although more expensive and less convenient, other point sources of light could be used, for example, a low-power laser or a high-intensity source and a pin-hole, etc,

What is claimed is:

1. A method of detecting disease in the human eye comprising positioning an illuminated optical fiber of mm diameter, or less, at the anterior focus of the eye, thereby to cause the eye to focus a parallel beam of light on the retina of the eye, the uniform retinal illumination caused by said point source permitting the user to see an image on his own retina.

2. Apparatus for detecting the presence of disease in the human eye, comprising means for supplying a source of light;

means for supplying electrical power to said light supplying means to energize the same;

a flexible cup having a concave surface such that the users eye-ball is adapted to be received therein; and

an optical fiber of 10 mils diameter, or less, said fiber having one end positioned proximate said light supplying means and the other end positioned in said cup such that the light from said light supplying means is transmitted along said fiber to a point within said cup where the anterior focus of the user's eye is located.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2642771 *Jun 13, 1949Jun 23, 1953Gustav GuistDevice for detecting and determining refraction anomalies of the human eyes
US3300269 *Oct 9, 1962Jan 24, 1967Laubman & Pank Proprietary LtdFibre-optics time resolved perimeter for testing peripheral vision
US3371660 *Sep 1, 1966Mar 5, 1968Air ShieldsEquipment for use in ultrasonic eye examination
US3417754 *Jul 12, 1965Dec 24, 1968Int Research & Dev Co LtdOphthalmoscopes
US3664631 *Feb 25, 1970May 23, 1972Guyton DavidCylindrical lens systems for simultaneous bimeridional measurement in a lens measuring instrument
US3780979 *May 12, 1972Dec 25, 1973Clinitex IncAdjustable fundus illumination
US3787112 *Aug 3, 1972Jan 22, 1974Lyons JApparatus and method for the self-examination of certain conditions of the eye
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4288161 *Jun 4, 1979Sep 8, 1981Lockheed CorporationOptical probe for detecting transitory and repetitive light signals
US4577943 *Jan 21, 1983Mar 25, 1986Salia Munoz MiguelMethod and apparatus for self-examination of the ocular globe
US4682867 *Apr 2, 1985Jul 28, 1987Gould Herbert LApparatus for the self-examination of the human eye
US4774643 *Nov 17, 1986Sep 27, 1988Diagin, Inc.Illuminator for radiation dosimeter and method of manufacture
US4838271 *Nov 30, 1987Jun 13, 1989Kei MoriVisible light ray radiation device for use in medical treatment
US4902124 *Sep 6, 1988Feb 20, 1990Roy Sr Frederick HCataract monitoring method and means
US6144508 *May 19, 1999Nov 7, 2000Bransome; RobertSelf-viewing device for eyes
DE3301829A1 *Jan 20, 1983Mar 1, 1984Salia Munoz MiguelVerfahren zur selbstuntersuchung des augapfelinnern
DE102006039753A1 *Aug 24, 2006Feb 28, 2008Eduard GalinkerMethod for visual evaluation of condition of optical media of own eye of observer, involves projecting real representation of source of light spot in eye such that focus of projection is within eyeball in its optical media
DE102006039753B4 *Aug 24, 2006Feb 19, 2009Eduard GalinkerVerfahren zur visuellen Einschätzung des Zustandes der optischen Medien des eigenen Auges des Beobachters und Einrichtung zur Beleuchtung des Auges
EP0042240A1 *Jun 5, 1981Dec 23, 1981Janette AtkinsonSimplified refractometer
EP0338139A1 *Apr 18, 1988Oct 25, 1989L. Eduardo VegaApparatus and method for self-examination of the eye and surrounding facial areas
WO1990011716A1 *Mar 29, 1990Oct 1, 1990Greater Glasgow Health BoardOptical spacing device
WO2000057771A1 *Mar 29, 2000Oct 5, 2000Yaacov RozenmanA device for self examination of the transparent optical system of the eye and a method for use thereof
WO2001049166A1 *Dec 29, 2000Jul 12, 2001Birchall WayneAnterior segment viewing device
Classifications
U.S. Classification351/223, 362/572, 351/205, 351/218
International ClassificationA61B3/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61B3/0008
European ClassificationA61B3/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 28, 1988AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: APPLIED OPTICS CORPORATION
Owner name: BERNDT, WOLF-DIETER
Effective date: 19821209
Mar 28, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: BERNDT, WOLF-DIETER
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:APPLIED OPTICS CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004849/0843
Effective date: 19821209
Owner name: VISION CARE RESEARCH LABS., INC., A CORP. OF NEW J
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BERNDT, WOLF-DIETER;REEL/FRAME:004840/0772
Effective date: 19860701
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BERNDT, WOLF-DIETER;REEL/FRAME:004840/0772