Ophthalmologist using iPhone 13 macro feature responds to criticism

We recently reported on an ophthalmologist using the iPhone 13’s new macro photography feature to document patient progress.

Thanks to the Macro mode, Dr Tommy Korn can take extremely detailed photos of the eyes, which lets him observe and record important details about patients’ health.

Korn came under fire in some quarters, with people suggesting he should instead be using a DSLR with proper macro lens, and has now explained why this isn’t necessary …

Photography site Petapixel interviewed Korn.

The photos were shared by 9to5Mac and other news outlets and across social media. But based on some of the comments he has seen, he says that he believes that there is some confusion as to why he uses the iPhone in the first place.

“There is some confusion on if the camera is going to replace exams or larger cameras,” he said in an interview with PetaPixel. “Let’s say you have an eye condition or eye problem and you have to see a doctor and you see them six months later and you ask ‘hey, how does it look compared to last time.’ Do you think the doctor remembers? They can’t remember. They look at notes and verbal descriptions.”

Dr. Korn says that this is why doctors who want to be conscientious will take photos to monitor progress in addition to copious notes. Some comments in response to his post on LinkedIn have encouraged Dr. Korn to use a higher quality standalone camera so that he can see more detail, but the doctor explains that’s not the point of what he is doing.

“I’m using it for documentation. I have just enough information to know if it’s serious or not,” he clarifies.

The ophthalmologist says that he has used DSLRs in the past, as well as a $15,000 slit-eye camera with an iPhone adapter, but neither is now necessary. The iPhone 13 images are sufficient for their purpose, and it’s a much faster and simpler process – so one likely to be used by doctors who would otherwise rely simply on written notes.

Additionally, he says, patients can use the iPhone 13 at home.

“They can now send me pictures remotely and I can conduct a televideo visit with them and ask them to show me their eye,” he says. “And that improves telemedicine. I can then bring in the people who really need to be seen in person, and those who are not an urgent case can still get care conveniently at home.”

That, to me, is the real power of this kind of iPhone development. Not that it replaces high-end professional equipment, any more than Cinematic Video replaces cinema cameras, but that it makes these kind of features easily accessible to all.

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