The new – and free — visualFields app for the iPad is making it possible to perform visual field screenings in remote areas of the world.
A study was recently conducted in Nepal to assess the ability of the low-cost program for the iPad to perform visual screenings. In Nepal, access to medical equipment is limited and carrying equipment through the mountains is difficult. Fortunately, the iPad is small and less expensive than other equipment.
Andrew Iwach, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tells Medscape that “these are solutions and tools that we can use today; they can be used internationally; they can be used remotely.” He says their presence can be leveraged for general health as well.
Testing the app took an average of 3 minutes and 18 seconds. The correlation between the app and the Humphrey automated field analyzer measures was good and the mean deviation correlation of 0.79 was described as “remarkable” by lead researcher Chris Johnson, PhD, director of the Visual Field Reading Center at the University of Iowa.
However, the app has a high rate of false-positive results for normal patients and is not designed to look for early signs of glaucoma but rather for moderate or advanced glaucoma. Auspiciously, the app does help to identify patients who are at risk for vision loss.
Researchers are wanting to expand this platform’s reach into India and other places in the near future.