The Power of Retina Scan: Accuracy, Precision and Applications in Identity Verification

You must be aware of the famous quote, “A face is the picture of the mind and eyes as its interpreter” around which today’s blog revolves. Biometric identification technology has different types that detect the unique patterns of biological characteristics for each human. It includes fingerprint scanning, vein pattern scanning, and the most trending one which is eye scanning. Eye scanning also has two identity verification methods including Iris scanning and Retina scanning.

Today we will explain retina scanning as a method of identity verification, and its implications and discuss other knowledge-building points.


Retina scan is a type of identity verification that uses the scanning of the retina present in the human eye. A retina is the white part of the human eye that surrounds the Iris and has a unique vein pattern which is also called the neural part of the eye. The retina is unique for each human being and can be used to identify through retina scanning devices commonly used at sensitive entrances like the ones in government buildings.


The retina scan’s concept dates back to the early 1930s it has been in actual use since the 1980s. However, its widespread use commenced after John Daugman 1994 introduced the practical working of Iris scan which is the second method of human identification through the eye. Today, many identity verification vendors claim that they perform retina scan ID checks but their human eye scanning is based on Iris scan.

Why Retina Scan is Better than an Iris Scan?

In numeric terms, the Retina scan has been proven to be 70 times more accurate than the Iris scan. If we compare it with fingerprint recognition, Retina scan has been proven to be 20000 times more accurate than Fingerprint scanning. 


Why do Organizations still use Fingerprint and Iris scanning instead of Retina Scanning?

The answer to this question is mainly the cost and time factors involved in retina pattern recognition. According to identity experts, Retina scanning takes nearly 15 seconds and requires a person to focus on a single point in the camera for the said duration. Only then the exact retina pattern can be detected and verified. Moreover, the cost of retina scanning technology is much higher than that of Iris and fingerprint scanners.

Why Retina Scan is the Ideal Choice in the Future of Digital Identification?

Retina scanning is by far one of the most secure and impenetrable ways for identity spoofers. Despite the challenges involved, it gives robust identity protection for customers and other users and their identities. Firms that implement retina scanning technology for identity verification have witnessed a visible reduction in several bypassing attempts and identity fraud attempts.

Working on Retina Scanning

Retina scan works on the principle of light exposure and detection. The tiny capillaries or veins are capable of absorbing light and then visualized easily when they are illuminated properly. For this purpose retina scanners are used which are high-tech scanning devices that require a human to expose eyes in proximity to the scanner. Normally, the scanner is required at a distance of 1 inch from the eye. 

Once the required distance and position of the eye are set, the retina scanner starts throwing a special light (mostly green) on the retina part of the human eyes. The process goes on for approximately 15 seconds. Once the retina pattern is identified and matched with the required identity, it is authenticated and given access. 

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Do note that the human eye must not move during the retina scanning process. Also, a retina scan is difficult for an average human being because it requires them not to blink at all during identity verification.

Other Considerations in Retina Scanning

Since the retina is a medical term and is related to human health, the retina pattern cannot remain the same throughout a human’s life. It may change due to varying medical conditions and diseases like diabetes and glaucoma. This is another challenge that the identity verification solution faces while incorporating retina scans into its IDV features. It is difficult to universally apply retina scans for the identification of everyone globally as health conditions can’t remain the same for everyone. That’s why retina scanning is only used in highly sensitive organizations where the health of the subjects is closely monitored and if a change in retina pattern, it is updated in the system.

Benefits of Retina Scan as an Identification Technology

Retina scan initially requires 45 seconds to complete a cycle of 5 scans of a single eye. It includes nearly 350 reference points of retina pattern and once the required image from all reference points of the retina is acquired, it is recorded and then used as a reference for future verification attempts of that particular eye. The retinal images captured and recorded take less than 40 bytes of space and are desirable in monitoring large amounts of human retinal data. The accuracy achieved in retina scanning is 100% by the solutions that implement this technology.

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Final Word

Despite the challenges faced in retina scanning, it is by far one of the most secure and authentic methods of identity verification for a living human. Remember, that after death, the retina deteriorates rapidly and loses its authenticity as a means of identification. So, considering live humans only, retina scanning can be used to secure their digital authentication. Identity verification solutions should try to explore faster and cheaper methods of bringing retina scanning to streamline and safeguard digital identity verification for everyone.