Development of a Portable Device for Early Detection of Eye Infection and Dry Eye DiseasePublic Health


This project will develop a portable, inexpensive tool for early detection of dry eye and potential eye infection.


  • Researchers have developed a theoretical framework needed to predict the instability and rupture of tear film under healthy and pathological conditions
  • Health care end-users have been engaged to develop requirements needed for user interface of physical diagnostic device


Researchers have initiated theoretical modelling of tear film dynamics and studied various film rupture scenarios relevant to eye infection and dry eye disease. These studies will form the foundation on which a diagnostic device can be developed.


Ocular surface infections such as microbial and fungal keratitis and the dry eye syndrome are among the leading causes of blindness in the world. These diseases are especially severe in India where tropical weather and rural setting tend to increase the risk of eye infection. Early detection of infection is vital to the efficacy of clinical interventions. However, traditional diagnostic methods require culturing tear samples up to 7 days in microbiology labs.

We propose to develop a portable diagnostic tool that detects the premature breakup of the tear film and the loss of the mucous layer on the cornea as indicators of dry eye and impending eye infection. As an alternative to current methods, detecting premature breakup and other abnormalities in the tear film is much faster and relatively inexpensive, and holds promise for a new technique that can be used in the field for early diagnosis for people at risk of eye infection. The research will be conducted through collaboration among three institutions: University of British Columbia, Canada, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, India, and the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad India. Scientifically, the project represents and interdisciplinary effort that integrates a fluid-mechanical understanding of tear film rupture with its pathological consequences, culminating in the development of a robust, portable and inexpensive diagnostic tool that will benefit the health of underprivileged communities in India and Canada.

Project Team

Dr. James Feng, University of British Columbia
Dr. Harish N. Dixit, IIT Hyderabad
Dr. Ashutosh Richhariya, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute
Dr. Jagadeesh Reddy, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute
Dr. Mukesh Taneja, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute
Dr. Dilip Mishra, L. V. Prasad Eye Institute


University of British Columbia
IIT, Hyderabad
L.V. Prasad Eye Institute

Current Number of Students: 4

Key Outcomes

Publications: 2
Presentations: 9