Smartphone app helps eye patients monitor vision from home

Patients at Moorfields Eye Hospital are testing an app that allows them to check their vision from home during lockdown.

A smartphone app that allows eye patients to test their vision from home during lockdown is being piloted by a leading eye hospital.

Home Vision Monitor is being tested by patients of the Moorfields Eye Hospital as a means of continuing the close monitoring of their vision without leaving home.

The app, which can be used on a smartphone or tablet, has been specifically designed for people with diseases that affect the macula, such as neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetes.

In normal circumstances, patients would attend in-person appointments every four to 12 weeks to check for any changes in vision.

The app, which is currently being tested by more than 350 Moorfields patients, asks users to take a shape discrimination test at least twice a week to monitor their vision for any changes.

Results are sent instantly to the hospital, with automatic alerts triggered if two tests show any deterioration or discrepancies in eye health.

Konstantinos Balaskas, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “Exciting new digital technologies, such as Home Vision Monitor, will further empower our patients to actively contribute to the management of their condition, in partnership with their clinicians to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“Placing such tools in the hands of patients will both improve health outcomes for patients and reduce the capacity pressures of hospital-based eye departments.”

Jill Hopkins, global head of ophthalmology at healthcare firm Roche, which helped develop the app, said: “Supporting such a high risk group is essential during these extraordinary times.

“By testing patients’ vision more frequently and at home, the app may eliminate unnecessary hospital visits and escalate urgent cases where needed.

“We believe that solutions such as these can continue to support patients and healthcare professionals beyond Covid-19 and contribute to the generation of real world evidence to identify progression trends in AMD.”

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