Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS joins FIRST Solutions SA to improve diabetic retinopathy screening


The EyeFundusScope, an awarded project developed by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, will be a crucial component in a new project that aims to integrate and validate a mobile solution for the risk assessment of diabetic retinopathy. The Mobile Diabetic Retinopathy Screening project (MobileDRS) led by the Portuguese company First Solutions SA, intends to create a low cost and effective tool integrated in a commercial solution for management of screening programmes.


Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease triggered by a physiological dysregulation caused by diabetes. Nowadays, it is the leading cause of avoidable blindness in the world. The continuous monitoring is essential to protect the vision since its progression is asymptomatic in the early stages. The hard mobility of traditional equipment and low availability of specialists limit the effectiveness of the screening process.

The EyeFundusScope is a mobile prototype developed to identify lesions appearing on early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Started as a small MSc thesis project, it proves now to be an example of potential technology transfer to industry from Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS.

The project MobileDRS led by FIRST Solutions SA includes the adaptation of the mobile prototype once awarded by Exame Informática. A smartphone-based acquisition of retinal images combined with 3D-printed components around a dedicated optical system is expected to overcome those limitations, empowering a wider range of medical professionals or non-experts to acquire retinal images in a flexible and affordable way.

With its validation, the MobileDRS project may play a future role in covering isolated populations using a mobile and low cost device, reducing costs for the Health Ministry and enhancing the effectiveness of screening programmes. The mobile solution will be integrated in an information system for management of population screening programmes, called SiiMA Rastreios, which allows the implementation of the functional circuit from the examination invitation to treatment and follow-up.

The project (identified as POCI-01-0247-FEDER-010838 according to Portugal 2020) is co-funded by the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) from European Union, framed in the COMPETE 2020 (Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation).