April 10, 2012

Iris Scanning - Positive ID in the blink of an eye

Iris Scanning now available at London Bridge Hospital

To make identification quicker and easier when you start your journey with London Bridge Hospital we have now introduced iris scanning when you register for your initial appointment.

The iris is the coloured ring in the eye, and is more unique than a fingerprint. The software takes pattern data from the digital picture and uses the pattern to recognise the individual. This type of scanning is completely safe – the camera takes a digital picture of the iris using low power LED lighting and has no flash, no lasers or other harmful light sources

Your first scan may take a few moments as the camera takes a continuous video to get a picture that is clear and in focus. After the initial scan, the iris identification system accurately retrieves a record in seconds.

When you have your iris scanned

Our administration team will always be available to help you undertake the iris scanning. Initial registration will take several seconds for each eye as multiple images are required by the identification system.

The camera will take a close-up picture of the eye using a digital video camera. You will need to stand about six inches (15cm) away from the camera and look into the round mirror so you can see the reflection of one eye in the mirror (some people may find it easier to cover the other eye with their hand).

When positioning is correct a beep will sound and a green light on the front of the camera will flash.

The ‘Server’ translates the iris pattern into a unique identifier which is stored against your unique hospital record

For your initial scan you will need to undertake the process for both eyes.

Once complete our registration team will confirm personal details with you to ensure circumstances haven’t changed.

Glasses and sunglasses may cause a reflection so should be removed for the initial scan and where possible each visit thereafter.

For further information download our information leaflet


Q: Why do you need to initially scan both eyes?

A: This allows for either eye to be used for identification on subsequent visits. This will make future recognition much faster.

Q: Why is the system having a problem capturing my iris?

A: Your iris may be covered by your eyelid – ensure your eye is open as wide as possible and you are positioned about 15cm, or 6 inches, away from the camera.

Q: Does laser surgery affect recognition?

A: No, surgery should not affect recognition

Q: Can I be enrolled/recognised if I have cataracts?

A: Cataracts may be an issue. In general, if you can see – then we can capture your irises.

Q: Can I wear coloured or cosmetic lenses?

A: No, prescription contact lenses may be worn but coloured; coloured prescription or cosmetic lenses must be removed

Q: Do I need to remove glasses and sunglasses?

A: These may cause a reflection so all glasses should be removed for enrolment and for recognition sunglasses should be removed and where possible eye glasses

Q: Does an iris image change with age?

A: No, the iris is stable from an early age

Q: Are there any cases of a scan being unable to collect a reading?

A: Yes. In very rare situations, it is impossible to collect clear images of an individual’s irises


Iris pattern data is stored on a secured HCA server; behind a firewall; against the unique hospital identifier. HCA is fully committed with Data Protection Legislation and medical confidentiality guidelines.

Having your iris scanned is not compulsory. If you would prefer not to have your iris scanned for identification, please make the administration team aware at the point of registration.

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