Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic retinopathy who used a mobile application to test their vision at home got comparable results to in-office vision testing, according to research presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The findings from this small study suggest the smartphone app may help patients take better care of their vision.
The voice-activated app, known as Checkup, is designed to engage patients with their health care. It sends reminders to the patient’s device if they forget to test on schedule. Results of the test are sent in real time to a secure cloud-based data warehouse. The ophthalmologist can view the results, and contact the patient if they detect a deterioration in their vision.
Researchers at Northern California Retina Vitreous Associates in Mountain View, California aimed to determine whether a smartphone app could monitor patients’ vision at home as accurately as vision testing in the ophthalmologist’s office. They asked 27 patients with either age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy to use the app for two months. Currently patients monitor their eyes at home using a paper Amsler grid.
Patients tested their vision at home using the app, and were then re-tested in the office. There was strong agreement between the Checkup app and the in-office tests for both visual acuity and Amsler grid testing. Every patient reported that it was easy to use.
“We’re excited about the potential of this technology to improve patient care,” said lead researcher, Dr. Rahul N. Khurana. “More and larger studies are required to make sure it works as well as our small study showed. But we found that it encouraged patients to take a more active role in their care, and they found it easy to use.”