Written By: Reena Mukamal
Reviewed By: J Kevin McKinney MD
Feb. 17, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in telemedicine appointments — and some patients skipped eye care visits altogether. In-person appointments are now safe, thanks to strict hygiene and disinfection procedures that protect patients from the coronavirus. But many people are still avoiding eye exams.
Between visits to the eye doctor, some patients are turning to eye health apps. These apps don't replace a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist. But they may help you manage ongoing eye conditions and alert you when a doctor's input is needed.
Disclaimer: These apps and technologies are presented for your information only. They are not the only such tools, but are merely representative of the types of tools that are available. These apps are not endorsed by the Academy, as the Academy never endorses products, companies or organizations. Ask your eye care team, including your ophthalmologist, to help identify apps and technologies that might best address your needs.
Vision Screening Apps
Verana Vision Test (iOS, free)
This ophthalmologist-developed app tracks your vision over time. It uses a tool called the Amsler Grid to look for problematic spots in your field of vision. This can identify changes in your vision caused by eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Test results are recorded in the app and can be shared with your physician with the click of a button.
MaculaTester (Android and iOS, $2.99)
This app offers an interactive version of the Amsler Grid to help patients check for visual changes that can be early signs of macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. It reminds you to screen your vision at regular intervals and records test results so you can share them with your ophthalmologist.
EyeXam (Android, free)
You can use this app to test your vision at home, locate an eyecare provider and even make an appointment. You can also test for astigmatism, eye dominance, color perception and track macular disease progression. The results and history can be saved and e-mailed to your doctor.
Peek Acuity (Android, free)
This app lets you measure visual acuity using your smartphone and helps determine if you need an in-person exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. It includes the equivalents of vision assessments usually done in person, including the “count fingers”, “hand movement” and “light perception” tests.
Eye Patient (Android and iOS, free)
Developed by three ophthalmologists, this app offers a variety of vision testing tools and educational information about dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, color blindness and more.
VisionCheck 2 (EyeQue, $65 for the device and two-year subscription to the app)
This at-home vision test bundle includes a device that works in conjunction with your smartphone and an app. The device tests your vision, one eye at a time. You can measure the lens power needed to correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as any near-vision additional power you might need. The app generates eyeglass numbers that can be used to order glasses online. This bundle does not replace routine eye exams and does not screen for conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Amsler Grid Eye Test (iOS, free)
This app can help you test and monitor possible vision changes related to macular degeneration. With daily use, you can identify small changes that may otherwise go unnoticed. Observing changes can prompt you to see your ophthalmologist to get needed care and to help prevent lasting vision loss.
Disease Screening Apps
Dry Eye Questionnaire (iOS, free)
This app uses a dozen questions to help you determine if you have chronic dry eye. It is based on a measurement called the ocular surface disease index, which is commonly used by eye care professionals. If the app indicates that you may have dry eye, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a full exam and treatment.
CRADLE White Eye Detector (Android and iOS, free)
Developed by a father whose son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye, this smartphone app helps detect leukocoria, a white reflection from the back of the eye that can be an early sign of a tumor. The app uses artificial intelligence to scan pictures on your phone and detect tell-tale signs of leukocoria. Early detection leads to better treatment and can help save a child’s vision.
RetinaRisk (Android and iOS, $19.99 per year)
An endocrinologist and an ophthalmologist joined forces to produce this app, which helps people with diabetes track their eye health and assess their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness. The app also offers guidance on how to lower risks through diet and blood sugar management. You can track your disease risk over time and connect to a community for advice and support.
Lens and Medicine Tracking Apps
Contact Lens Tracker (iOS, free)
Using fresh contact lenses is essential to maintaining good eye health, and this app helps keep you on track. You enter information in about your contact lenses, and the app will notify you when they expire, and keep bothering you until you replace them.
EyeDropAlarm (Android and iOS, free)
Missing eye medicine doses is a common problem for patients with glaucoma, dry eyes, allergies, infections, and uveitis. This app reminds you to take your drops, keeps a record for you and warns you when you’re about to run out of medication.
MyTherapy: Medication Reminder (Android and iOS, free)
This app can help you stay on top of your glaucoma medication doses, prescription eye drops and other medications you take throughout the day. It also allows you to record blood pressure, blood sugar and other measurements and save them in a report for your next doctor's appointment.
Link to article on AAO website: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-health-app-covid-coronavirus-home-exam