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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 19:50 GMT
Doctor's redesign could help thousands
Roger Armour tests his gadget
Roger Armour tests his redesign on his grandson
A Hertfordshire doctor is hoping to help thousands of people in the developing world with a redesign of a trusted medical gadget.

Retired surgeon Roger Armour has reinvented the ophthalmoscope - a piece of equipment which can help detect various diseases by allowing doctors to look behind the eyes of their patients.

But unlike the traditional or even light weight versions of the equipment, the latest take is lens-free and small enough to fit in a doctor's pocket and should only cost about 5.

Mr Armour, who was raised and studied in Pakistan, hopes his design will allow hospitals in developing countries to provide all of their doctors with an ophthalmoscope.

National award

He said: "A friend of mine went to one of the top teaching hospitals in Africa and found only two people had ophthalmoscopes.

"One kept his locked away and one would use it but would not let anyone else use it through fear of breakages or damage."

A traditional ophthalmoscope costs about 200 while a smaller version is price about 100.

The equipment can help diagnose glaucoma, diabetes, blood pressure and also brain tumours.

The reinvention has put Mr Armour in line for a national award as he is one of 30 finalists in the Medical Futures Innovation Awards.

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