Blind­ness costs Cana­dians almost $16-​​billion a year, with two of its leading causes, dia­betic retinopathy and glau­coma, often detected too late to pre­vent vision loss. Two Uni­ver­sity of Toronto med­ical stu­dents may have a found a solu­tion, how­ever — in India.

Jeff Martin and Mohan Pandit say a device known as 3nethra, which comes from a country where mil­lions have lost their eye­sight because they don’t have access to the right care, could save Canada more than $1-​​billion annually.

Designed for a country where there is one oph­thal­mol­o­gist for every 60,000 people, 3nethra can be oper­ated by someone with little exper­tise and is about one-​​third to one-​​quarter the price of a com­pa­rable high-​​end device in Canada. It cap­tures an image of the back of the eye with a sim­pli­fied retinal camera and pro­vides a report with a diag­nosis. It’s more accu­rate and easier to use than the hand-​​held oph­thal­mo­scopes cur­rently used by Cana­dian doc­tors, Mr. Pandit and Mr. Martin say.

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