After Bryan Shaw’s son, Noah, was born with a rare form of eye cancer known as retinoblastoma, Shaw – a chemist from Baylor University – went on to help develop an iPhone app that enables users to check for early signs of certain eye diseases. Shaw noticed signs of his son’s condition when Noah was just 12 days old. In many of the family photos taken with his son, there was a distinctive white reflection coming from his eyes, which turned out to be tumors reflecting back. When Shaw learned its significance, he wanted to help other parents by providing an early detection tool.
After gathering thousands of photos of healthy eyes vs. those with varying eye diseases, Shaw worked with Baylor computer scientist Greg Hamerly to create the “White Eye Detector” app, and it has the capability to search your photos and notify you if it picks up on potential eye problems. It also has a screening mode, where a user can shine their iPhone into someone’s eyes and the software will search for a white reflection.1
This story hits close to home for us, as we recently spoke with one grandmother who informed us that when she and her daughter used the app, they discovered that her two-year-old granddaughter may have had a tumor, which was later confirmed via medical scans. Her disease is believed to have been toxin-driven prior to birth, and not genetic, since the tumor only occurred in one of her two eyes. Because of the early detection, the medical team feels confident that the treatment will save her daughter’s life.
In addition to helping all parents with early detection, imagine how useful this screening tool could be in areas of the world where they may not have ready access to medical screenings.1 It is our Ahh-mazing “AHA” discovery for November: The White Eye Detector app for early detection of eye disease in children.
UPDATE: We recently heard from Bryan Shaw about this article. He shared in an email, “Dear Dana, thank you for featuring our app in your write up. We have been happy with the number of people CRADLE has helped from all over the world. We do like to keep track of the success stories so feel free to pass our info along to your friend who was helped. We would love to talk to them and introduce them to our community of survivors. Best, Bryan Shaw.”
Thank you, Bryan Shaw, for the great work you do to help so many families.
Do you have an Ahh-mazing “AHA” Discovery to share?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be any idea or endeavor that may help others in their own revelation or better quality of life. Alternatively, want to nominate someone with special skills of creativity and innovation? Let us know!
Past “AHA” Discoveries:
- February 2015: Designer Walter Herbst, hosted by BIZ941 Magazine – Practical Tool Ingenuity
- March 2015: Dr. Steven Nissen, hosted by NPR Radio – Science Busting on Dietary Cholesterol
- April 2015: Theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner Peter Higgs – Higgs Boson “God Particle.”
- May 2015: Electromagnetic sensor used on glaciers – SkyTEM
- June 2015: Watt-Ahh inventor, Rob Gourley – Polarized Water stabilizing low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide for two years.
- July 2015: Comet Lander Philae’s potential discovery of alien life
- August 2015: NASA’s discovery of a habitable zone in the universe (Earth 2.0)
- September 2015: The faulty FTO gene’s effect on the body’s ability to burn fat – MIT and Harvard University
- October 2015: Discovery of an 11,000-year-old woolly mammoth fossil – donation to University of Michigan
1 We need to caution that no early detection app can replace consultation with your physician for any potential medical condition.