Smartphone apps may aid in amblyopia
DENVER — Free smartphone apps may be useful for aiding patients with amblyopia, according to a presenter here.
“Amblyopia is the most common problem affecting children and adults that is a vision impairment that can be mild but can affect their future careers,” Gloria Wu, MD, told Healio/OSN at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting.
Wu and colleagues evaluated the 11 most popular apps on the Apple and Google app stores by searching for terms such as lazy eye, amblyopia, improve vision and eye exercises. They then ranked the apps by number of downloads and star ratings for Android and iOS, respectively. The researchers only included applications that were free, available in English, had 100,000 or more downloads in the Google Play store or 40 or more reviews in the Apple app store.
Of the 22 apps examined, none offered a definition or education on amblyopia, dichoptic training or the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Seven apps mentioned vision, color vision or vision games, while four apps mentioned Gabor patch or optokinetic nystagmus stripes. Additionally, five apps mentioned color contrast and offered some form of “fix and follow.”
Amblyopia improvement exercises were more common among Android apps than iOS apps, and one iOS app offered a visual acuity test compared with six apps on the Android app store.
Adding more educational features to these apps could prove useful in the future, the authors wrote.
“We think this will help with the treatment armamentarium for our amblyopic patients,” Wu said. “We think as more people download them, this space will become more robust.”