When in a pinch, the camera on your smartphone can diagnose your patients’ Demodex infections, according to a new report published in Eye & Contact Lens, but it’s not the ideal method. Typically, the eyelash mites are monitored using light microscopes, but light microscopes aren’t very portable or cost-effective. Identifying Demodex as the cause of a patient’s blephoritis is the first step in guiding treatment. In the article, the researchers demonstrate how they were able to use a smartphone to image a 52-year-old patient.

First, the team fit an Android phone with a 90D Volk noncontact double aspheric lens using a clear tape. Next, they adjusted the phone’s focus settings to “manual.” They then epilated the patient’s eyelash and placed it on a desk without the use of a coverslip, medium or stain. The smartphone was placed approximately 8mm from the eyelash root. Using the video setting, the results showed the parasite moving along the root of the lash.

The researchers say this kind of instant imaging is helpful in motivating patients to engage in treatment, but that the technology’s resolution is low and may not lead to optimal images.

Kaya A, Gurdal C. Office-Based Diagnosis of Demodex Using Smartphone. Eye & Contact Lens. 2018;44(6):e25-6.