Smartphone-based screening application and low-cost lens that identifies the risk for cataracts

By: Shaivi S,
Year: 2021
Grade: 11
Science Teacher: Nathaniel Ritscher

Cataract is the leading cause of blindness according to the latest assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is responsible for 51% of world blindness, affecting 65.2 million people. The majority of cases are from low-income or third-world countries where access to professional tools is not accessible. Early detection and treatment depend on tools such as a direct ophthalmoscope or slit-lamp. However, these traditional equipment have limitations such as high cost of purchase, regular maintenance, difficulty to use and interpret results without specialists.

In order to solve these challenges, Shaivi sought to design a low-cost smartphone-based screening tool that identifies the risk for cataracts without the assistance of healthcare professionals. This eliminates the need for heavy and expensive gold-standard equipment.


Overall, Oculi is a two-part device that is portable, inexpensive (costs under $7), and accurate. It is simple to use and requires no assistance of professionals and specialized equipment. These advantages can prevent the continual loss of vision notifying individuals the health of their eye from early on and receiving treatment.