Anemia is a condition in of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity of hemoglobin (the protein found in red blood cells). The condition occurs due to excessive blood loss, when the body does not produce enough blood cells, or when the body destroys the blood cells. Patients suffering from anemia often feel tired, look pale, develop shortness of breath, and have heart palpitations due to reduced amounts of oxygen in the body. According to World Health Organization, 2 billion people or 30% of global population is anemic. Anemia is more common in young children and pregnant women.
Complete blood count (CBC) is the most common test done to detect number, size, volume, and hemoglobin content of red blood cells. Health tech firm STAT Innovations has launched Eyenaemia: a non-invasive way of detecting anemia. Eyenaemia uses a picture of the inner lining of the lower eyelid and analyzes this color against a special color chart and estimates the quantity of hemoglobin. A lighter color signals a lower hemoglobin level. Using a cloud based app and information about the age and gender of the person, the system estimates the hemoglobin count and reports the risk of anemia. Eyenaemia works with a digital camera or any device that has a camera such as smartphones, flip phones, and tablets. Eyenaemia could be a valuable tool for the monitoring and treatment of patients in remote locations or where healthcare professionals are not nearby.
The system has won several awards, most recently the 2015 MedTech’s Got Talent competition in Australia, where it was the Grand Prize Winner. Whether Eyenaemia is as accurate as the blood test for anemia detection is still to be proven. If the concept is accurate, it will be very beneficial for people around the globe to easily detect the condition and take corrective steps before the problem leads to other, more serious problems.