Retina Global uses Eyer to track diseases in Kenya

Retina Global uses Eyer to track diseases in Kenya

Retina Global is an international, non-profit organization that seeks to enable sustainable solutions for the care of retinal diseases in underserved areas around the world.

Currently, the institution has projects in Central and South America and in Asia. It has already implemented programs in Tanzania, Kenya, Bolivia, Belize, Bahamas, Burundi, Ethiopia, Haiti and Brazil.

The NGO, in partnership with the project Iluminar, tracked and treated diabetic retinopathy in 13 municipalities in Sergipe hinterlands.

The team used the Phelcom Eyer, a smart, medical device, to carry out high-quality retinal exams (without having to dilate pupils) and make images available for remote diagnosis.

Recently, the organization has used the equipment again to track retinal diseases in Kericho, a town in rural Kenya, Africa.

Learn more about the project of Retina Global in Kenya, with the support of Eyer.

Retina Global in Kenya

For two days, the volunteer team from Retina Global made an initial evaluation, and then referred the patients for fundus exams with Eyer. Both the images and patients’ histories were
immediately available in the Eyer Cloud online platform.

Specialists in retina, based in the United States, made the reports. In total, 26 people were found to have retinal abnormalities, including a child and one young adult. “With that, we could diagnose quickly and start early treatment”, said the leader of Retina Global project in Kenya, Diane Steinhilber.

“We will keep using the equipment to identify and select the patients in need of specialized retinal care”, she highlights.


Lack of access to eye health

Steinhilber explains that the great challenge of this project is the lack of a retina specialist in this rural area of Kenya. Patients who need specialized treatment are referred to hospitals in Nairobi, the country’s capital, which is located roughly five hours away.

“To see a doctor, they face an arduous and long trip, as well as the time away from their jobs and families. Screening through Eyer allows us to quickly refer patients that are in real need of care in specialized centers”, she states.

As some patients have difficulties to get to the hospital, the project plans to send a trained team on community missions. Moreover, the project searches for a portable machine for laser treatment, as well as tools to carry out other kinds of therapies, such as intraocular injections and surgeries.

“Our team evaluated in detail the best way to implement a project that is able to provide exams and information on retinal care and also one that is sustainable in the long-term”, she says. Therefore, the project in Kenya was divided in phases to be implemented over five years.

Eyer use in Kenya

Retina Global

Retina Global team in Kenya took part on a remote training to learn how to handle the technology. “Eyer is extremely easy to handle. It is possible to promptly identify the images, quickly create patient database and send the photos to the doctor in the United States for review and reporting”, she says.

The project leader also highlights another advantage of Eyer: it not only has data for patient follow-up and continuous care, but also is a way to obtain information on the prevalence of retinal diseases in the region.

“Without Eyer, Retina Global would not have even started in Kenya. Further than using it in more local communities, we plan to include it in other projects to take place around the world”, she finishes.

Retina Global

Phelcom Eyer

Phelcom Eyer is a portable fundus camera that works to carry out high-quality fundus exams in a few minutes without the need of pupil dilation.

Integrated to an online platform, Eyer Cloud, the data is automatically sent and can be analyzed by a specialist anywhere in the world. That is, it allows remote diagnosis.

More than that, its embedded artificial intelligence provides smart features to help medical diagnosis and the capture of retinal scans. On the other hand, the portability and affordability of the technology democratize the access to retinal exams. The Eyer costs approximately US$5,000, compared to the US$120,000 of the current table-top fundus cameras that still need to be integrated to a computer.

Phelcom Technologies developed the technology, which is currently present all over Brazil and in countries such as the United States, Japan and Chile.

Google ADS for doctors: know the benefits and how to use

Google ADS for doctors: know the benefits and how to use

Google ads for doctors is a tool that helps you bring new patients to your office. We all know that people search on Google for what to do, where to go, what to buy and even which doctor to choose. This resource allows your ad to be shown exactly when someone is looking for services as yours. Thus, you can increase site visits, appointments and, consequently, the number of patients. But, how to attract more customers with Google ads for doctors? Learn how to in this article.   Google ADS para médicos  

Google ADS for doctors: how it works

  Google Ads is a Google Ads platform. It allows you to create online ads with sponsored links, which will appear to the user according to the search keywords. By this, your advertising may appear on YouTube videos, in Google search engine, on sites related to your area of activity, applications, etc. All depends on the strategy your team sets. The position of your ad on Google will depend on three factors: the relevance of the keyword to the subject searched, as well as the quality of the ad and the landing page; the maximum CPC (cost per click) bid, a comparison of the advertiser with the highest value per click; and the Ad rank, an average value between the previous two. The tool also delivers the metrics of the carried out campaigns. This way you can evaluate the number of impressions and ad clicks, as well as identify the users who clicked. Thus, it allows you to find out which type of ad performed best and better control the return on your online investments. By the way, the charge for the ad only occurs when you receive clicks. In addition, you can also limit the amount spent for each click received.    

Google ADS for doctors: how it works

  Check a step-by-step guide to create online campaigns with Google ADS:   1.Set the target audience Which patients do you want to attract? Information such as age, job, location, level of education and income help create your target audience.   2.Create the personas Personas are ideal, detailed profiles of the patient you want to attract. In addition to the information above, one must analyze lifestyle, habits, behaviors, frustrations, difficulties, leisure, etc.   3. Create the campaign With personas in hand, you can define which type of media is most consumed and make ads there. Example: blogs and YouTube.   4. Choose keywords This step is critical for your ad to appear or not to your persona. Here, you need to define the keywords that are most related to your specialty and that should draw the attention of your potential patient.   5. Select your goal In the tool, adjust your ad based on the desired results, such as receiving more calls at your clinic, attracting more patients, or directing people to your site.   6. Decide where to advertise You decide where you want to display the ads and Google will show it to the right people.   7. Create your message Show off what’s special about your office in three short sentences to win patients over, or add images to create eye-catching banner ads.   8. Set your budget limit You’ll never pay more than your monthly budget and can adjust or pause whenever you want. In addition, the platform shows the estimated results based on the chosen budget.   Google Ads can be a tool that helps you find ways to improve your ads and generate better results, thus freeing the doctor to focus on what he knows best: serving patients. It also provides reports, insights, and tips for you to track your progress and further optimize ads. Another tip: create Google My Business, a free and easy-to-use tool that allows healthcare institutions to manage their online presence on Google, including Search and Maps. To do this, you can create a profile of your business with all the essential data. That way, when people search directly by your name or the office or by keywords related to your specialty, Google will show your professional profile. See a step-by-step guide to create your profile in this article.   Reviewed by Paulo Schor, ophthalmologist, associate professor and director of innovation of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and collaborator of the Faculty of Medicine of the Albert Einstein Hospital.   Follow Phelcom’s blog and see tips on how to improve the digital marketing strategy of medical offices and clinics.   Subscribe

Augmented reality in healthcare can generate more diagnostic and procedural accuracy

Augmented reality in healthcare can generate more diagnostic and procedural accuracy

Augmented reality in health allows a real-time combination of images never before achieved, with new possibilities to diagnose diseases, which can increase accuracy in surgical procedures. That is, it can potentially improve patient quality of life.

In real time, the technology shows the material world overlayed with computer-made images, enabling greatly improved composite observations.

For this, smartphone cameras, tablets, smart glasses and even state-of-the-art helmets are used, so that the hands are unnecessary to command interfaces in systems and applications.

For instance, there is a strong trend to use Augmented Reality (AR) in this industry, according to the Journal of Med Internet Research (JMIR). Even with a still low use by doctors and institutions, there is an increasing number of applications of AR in medicine.

Learn about the advantages of using augmented reality in health and some cases of success.


Augmented reality X Virtual Reality


First, it’s important to understand the difference between augmented reality and Virtual Reality (VR).

VR is a computer-simulated environment that provides visual, sound and even tactile effects to the user. It allows complete immersion in the virtual scenario, as if the person was actually present there. For this, it uses technologies with stereoscopic displays, such as the popular headsets (special glasses that transmit the simulation).

AR, in its turn, integrates the physical and the virtual by overlaying computerized images in the real world, through software and devices. For example, the Google Glass app can be accessed from the user’s own mobile phone or tablet. There is also the famous game Pokémon Go, in which players searched for virtual Pokémon in real-world environments using the mobile phone camera.


Augmented reality in healthcare: advantages


Undoubtedly, there are numerous advantages of using AR in health. One of them is to ease access to the patient’s medical history in emergencies or on the surgery table, for example. Image overlaying may also more accurately ensure to locate an area of interest in surgical procedures, thus decreasing risk to the patient. In this case, it is possible to integrate imaging examinations and better see every detail of the organs in the preoperative care and, thus, have more success in surgery.

In fact, technology is a great ally of telemedicine. For example, specialists can instruct other doctors remotely in more complex operations. Another aspect is diagnostic medicine, because the patient can better understand the diagnosis and the recommended treatment.

AR has also been used in the digital screening of patients who have suffered accidents. In these cases, orthopedists help in the performance of arthroscopic surgeries on shoulders and in training interns and residents to carry out ultrasound examination at the care site.

Neurosurgery is one of the most advanced specialties in the use of AR, with reports of tumor resection, open neuro-vascular surgeries, spinal procedures, location of catheters or probes, cortical resection in epilepsy and aneurysms involving unusual trajectories or hidden ramifications.

In hospitals and clinics, the technology assists remote support by enabling on-site technicians and teams to receive specialized help needed for installation, setup, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of sensitive and specialized hospital equipment.


Teaching in medicine

realidade aumentada na saúde


Augmented Reality in healthcare allows seeing details of the human body and training procedures in a repetitive and precise way.  

Student, imagine practicing surgery in a virtual environment? Stanford University has a simulator which allows the most complete training for the future surgeon.

For researchers, a three-dimensional virtual surgical environment can allow for enhanced preoperative planning and testing. It thus improves patient results, decreases complication rates and improves technical skills.

The Stanford Virtual Surgical Environment (VSE) is developed for rhinologic procedures. The technology allows the surgeon to interact with patient-specific three-dimensional reconstructions of nasal sinus CT data sets using a modified haptic interface device, triggering a virtual endoscope.

In Brazil, there are also options for simulators. For example, Eyesi is aimed at training intraocular cataract surgery and vitreo-retinal procedures. It presents performance score and evaluates tremor, movement accuracy and repetitiveness, among other analyzes. Thus, it is a good tool for resident practice to introduce new techniques in ophthalmic surgery.

There are also the da Vinci surgical systems for robotic surgery, already in the fourth generation. The technology carries out minimally invasive surgeries in different procedures. One of its tools is a console – inspired by flight simulators – in which doctors visualize the high-definition 3D images and make the operative movements with their own hands, which are transmitted to the robot.

Another application is training and retraining for students, residents and specialists in care or in the surgical center. Thus, it is possible to carry out an ethnographic analysis of the performance of the professional, who is alone during the procedure, through the capture of images by a camera installed on the site.


Augmented Reality solutions in healthcare


On the market, there are already quite interesting solutions of AR.

For example, the application EyeDecide allows you to see the eyeball from any angle just by directly touching the image generated on the tablet and rotating it with your finger. It is also possible to reduce, expand, move or make notes on the eye in almost any direction. All this assists to simulate various disorders and helps to diagnose more accurately.

The app Anatomy 4D makes it possible to explore more than two thousand anatomical structures. Undoubtedly, it helps students and medical colleges.

Even with all the advantages, augmented reality in health is still relatively new and is not heavily employed in the area. However, as it proves its value for the quality of patient care, soon AR technologies will be stronger in the medical industry.


Reviewed by Paulo Schor, ophthalmologist, associate professor and director of innovation of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and collaborator of the Faculty of Medicine of the Albert Einstein Hospital.


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“Eyer is a game changer in the detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases,” says Gustavo Melo

“Eyer is a game changer in the detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases,” says Gustavo Melo

In early 2019, a colleague introduced the Phelcom Eyer smartdevice to ophthalmologist and retina specialist Gustavo Melo. Coupled to a smartphone, the device carries out high-quality fundus exams, in few minutes and without need of pupil dilation.  It connects to an online platform, the Eyer Cloud, which allows remote diagnosis and assures safety to data stored in the cloud. 

“I invested in this technology because I believed it would be a device that could revolutionize screening and diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy in the population not usually monitored with due regularity in eye offices,” he says.

Currently, Melo has performed more than two thousand exams with his two devices. One of them is used in an endocrinological clinic for screening patients with diabetes. “Those who have any changes are referred for detailed ophthalmic evaluation. Those with normal rates are reviewed annually, ” he explains.



Gustavo Melo, Ophthalmologist




The second Eyer is used to screen diabetic retinopathy in public health units in Aracaju (SE) and cities in the countryside, in voluntary actions through partnership with public managers. “The purpose is to be a continuous way to carry out early detection and awareness campaigns about the disease,” he says.

More than that, Melo reveals that he, in partnership with the ophthalmologist Fernando Malerbi, is developing a project to screen and treat diabetic retinopathy in the population of 13 inhabitants from Sergipe hinterland. The action will be a partnership of the American NGO Retina Global and Phelcom Technologies, startup responsible for Eyer.

“I think Eyer is a revolutionary milestone in primary care because it could change the way health managers prevent blindness due to diabetic retinopathy,” he says. For the ophthalmologist, using the equipment also in the Brazilian Unified Health System should reduce the evaluation cost per patient.


Phelcom Eyer



Image made by ophthalmologist Gustavo Melo with Eyer.



About the advantages of the technology, Melo reports that the easy handling, the high-quality images and the excellent cost-effectiveness. Regarding the EyerCloud online platform, the doctor points out the very user-friendly interface and extremely fast processing. “Perhaps this tool is one of Eyer’s best features,” he says.

Phelcom Eyer is integrated with Eyer Cloud and enables storing and managing patient exams. All data the equipment captures are automatically synchronized to the system, allowing a totally safe upload to the cloud.

Among the main functionalities are the possibility of sharing patient information with more than one clinic and visualize them in the same platform; locate patients by name or exam date; and create report templates from pre-made models available in the system.

In case of no internet access during the exam, images remain stored in the device and are sent to the cloud as soon as a connection is available.

The tool may be accessed in the device itself or via cellphone, tablet or computer.




Image made by ophthalmologist Gustavo Melo with Eyer.




About Phelcom’s slit lamp support, which allows attaching Eyer, the ophthalmologist says it greatly eases examinations performance by keeping the device static. And, with the new coronavirus pandemics, it also avoids contact of the operator’s hand with the patient’s skin.

“Eyer is a real game changer in the way diabetic retinopathy is detected and treated, as well as other retinal diseases,” Melo concludes.


Phelcom Technologies


Eyer is the first equipment of Phelcom Technologies, startup that unites technology and health, headquartered in São Carlos (SP). It manufactures wearable handheld devices with internet connection, aiming to democratize access to healthcare, offering better services, with a compact equipment, to more people.



Image made by ophthalmologist Gustavo Melo with Eyer.

Cigarette and eyes: smoke can kill cells, as study reveals

Cigarette and eyes: smoke can kill cells, as study reveals

Everyone already knows that cigarettes are bad for health. This includes the eyes. For example, smoke is a risk factor for various diseases such as dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

A recent study made in Japan revealed that smoke may also cause death to cornea cells from both active and passive smokers. A research was recently published in the Journal Sientific Reports, linked to Nature magazine.

Learn more about the work that correlated cigarette and eyes, its results and next steps.


Cigarettes and eyes – the research


Scientists at Gifu Pharmaceutical University, in Japan, created cultures of cells from the epithelium of the human cornea and exposed part of them to an extract of cigarette smoke and PTA aerosol, which contained most of the ingredients inhaled by smokers.

After 24 hours, the number of dead cells in cultures exposed to smoke and aerosols was higher than compared to those that did not interact with the substances. Upon contact with cigarette components, the ferritin inside eye cells decomposes, releasing the stored iron.




Exposure to the components of cigarette smoke accumulates iron, which kills cornea epithelium cells. The same reaction was observed with the aerosol produced by heated tobacco products (PTA). Although different from electronic cigarettes, these also require an electronic device for use and do not always come with nicotine.

Generally, cigarette smoke does not cause permanent problems. However, continuous exposure can cause corneal injury such as leukoma and even lead to blindness.

Despite the important results of the study on cigarettes and eyes, more research is still needed, especially in humans, to confirm the findings.


Information from Einstein Agency.


Reviewed by Paulo Schor, ophthalmologist, associate professor and director of innovation of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and collaborator of the Faculty of Medicine of the Albert Einstein Hospital.


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Doctor and stress: 8 tips to have balance in the routine

Doctor and stress: 8 tips to have balance in the routine

Unfortunately, doctor and stress may walk side by side. The routine of these professionals is often quite troubled, with long days in different workplaces, several patients, relationship with suffering and death and difficult decision-making. The pandemics worsened this scenario, even more so for those who have been on the front line.

For example, a survey conducted by the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM), with 1.6 thousand doctors, from September to December 2020, revealed that the pandemics impacted the life of 96%, either increasing the level of stress (22.9%), generating a feeling of fear and panic (14.6%), reducing the time dedicated to family, meals and leisure (14.5%) or decreasing the time and quality of sleep (7.6%).

Therefore, it is essential to invest in building a balanced life. For this, we picked 8 tips on how to better manage stress in everyday life. Check it out!


1.  Sleep tight


This tip is essential and also the most difficult to follow by doctors. Long working hours and even stress itself make it difficult to keep a good sleep routine. However, it is essential to prioritize good sleep, which is as fundamental for the body as healthy eating and the practice of physical exercises, for example.

Sleep deprivation deeply impacts health and generates stress due to the growth of cortisol and ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) levels. It affects the cognitive system, increases irritability and anxiety, modifies the body’s immune response, collaborates for the emergence of diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes and changes appetite. It also favors obesity, since it reduces the hormone that causes satiety (leptin) and stimulates the hormone that increases hunger (ghrelin).

Therefore, seek to sleep 7-8 hours a day. To do this, set schedules to create a routine and avoid electronic devices and stimulating food (sweets, coffee, soft drinks), coffee and alcoholic beverages two hours in advance.


2.  Take balanced meals


Often, when we are stressed, we feel the need to consume food high in fat and/or sugar, in addition to alcohol. Instead of relaxing, we may face even more problems, such as agitation, overweight and obesity.

So invest in a healthy diet with more intake of greens, fruits, vegetables, white meat and water. For example, dark green vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, folic acid and fiber, and lean proteins, such as fish and poultry, contribute to reduce oxidation, which may be related to increased inflammation.


3.  Do physical activities


So far, we have not spoken any news that you do not know already. But that doesn’t mean you can put it into practice, does it? Including physical exercises in everyday life can be challenging, but it is essential to keep the “doctor and stress” relationship more balanced.

Can you set 30 minutes a day? No? Then do it in 15 minutes. Regularity will increase endorphin production. If the activity is under sunlight, you will also have serotonin, which helps in mood and focus.


4.  Organize your day


Not having an organized schedule causes even more stress, because you cannot identify daily priorities, nor which urgent tasks demand your attention. .

Being clear on which subjects are most important helps you keep control. So, before you start the day, set your tasks and remark your priorities.


5.  Have moments of leisure


Feeling that life has become only work, family and personal obligations may demotivate you, cause sadness and even depression. That is why leisure moments are essential.

For example, if you like to hang out with family and friends, arrange dinners and visits. Also take some time for hobbies: reading, playing sports, watching films, marathoning series, playing with pets, etc.

It’s hard to imagine how to fit this into the routine, but try. Undoubtedly, stress will decrease by relaxing and focusing your attention on other things.

médico e estresse

Photo: Freepik


6.  Meditate


Meditation is proven to help reduce stress. By paying attention only to the present moment, mind and body connect, relaxing and slowing your thoughts.

The technique involves conscious breathing and the emptying of the mind. This does not mean that you will not think about anything during meditation, but that you should not cling to thoughts. Just watch them and let them pass.

There are guided meditations with various goals, such as relieving stress, increasing concentration, relaxing, etc. Currently, it is possible to watch some videos on YouTube or download applications for this purpose.


7.  Mindfulness


Have you ever heard of mindfulness? The practice simply consists in being attentive of body and mind in the present moment. That is, neither remembering the past nor thinking about the future. Only in the present.

Are you having lunch? Pay attention exclusively to the food, chewing, flavors and textures. Talking to a friend? Practice active listening: focus entirely on what is being said, instead of just listening passively while you’re already working out the answer.

Going to play a sport? Notice the movements of the body and the sensations that the activity produces. Will you read or watch your favorite series? Just focus on that moment – say goodbye to scrolling the mobile screen on social networks while watching TV. Try your best to avoid your thoughts being in that conversation from last year or in the bill you need to pay tomorrow.

The technique has existed for 2,500 years and generates benefits such as reduced stress, increased focus and concentration at work, reduced emotional reactivity and improved cognitive flexibility, among others.


8.  Seek professional help


In extreme cases of stress, seek professional help. The condition can worsen to anxiety, depression and burnout syndrome if you do not have the proper follow-up.

Take care of yourself too.


Reviewed by Paulo Schor, ophthalmologist, associate professor and director of innovation of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and collaborator of the Faculty of Medicine of the Albert Einstein Hospital.


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