Article Date: 3/1/2012

There’s an App for That
Street Smarts

There’s an App for That

By Dan Beck, OD
Leland, N.C.

I ORDERED MY first iPad several months ago, so I’d be able to access our office EHR system over a 3G network even if our Internet went down. After playing with the pre-installed software, I began to discover apps for optometry.

Macula Tester: This is an Amsler grid app, which offers three different backgrounds (white-on-black, black-onwhite and white-on-blue). Patients simply touch the screen where they see abnormalities, and it marks the spot or area with a bright orange color. No pencil or pen is needed. Cost: 99 cents.

Color Vision HD: This app provides 38 Ishihara color plates, more than most color plate print books. At a cost of $2, it’s about $150 cheaper and much more extensive.

Eye Chart Premimum: This is an awesome app. It’s a fully backlit, distance vision eye chart. It can be held 4 or 8 feet from the patient. It contains letters, tumbling "E"s and tumbling "C"s. All the charts can be randomized with the push of a button. This app is invaluable when you’re measuring visual acuities on a wheelchair-bound or bed-bound patient who can’t be positioned to view a traditional wall chart. It also includes a mirror image setting that allows the entire iPad to be mounted on a wall if desired. The cost is $5. For an extra $45, you can get a remote control.

Epocrates: This drug database has been around in a variety of formats for many years. In addition to providing information on all currently available drugs, it shows adult and pediatric dosages as well as an image gallery for visually identifying medications. It also has a fantastic drug interaction tool. What really makes this app valuable is that it is constantly updated. The basic app is free. Additional features can be purchased if desired.

We all face constant pressure to keep our practices on the cutting edge of technology. But somtimes the price of the newest technology and instruments is cost prohibitive. Spending $500 on an iPad (if you don’t already own one) and downloading some eyecare apps is a great, cost effective alternative. I encourage everyone to take the time and search for other great optometry/medical apps. Maybe one of you will develop your own app some day! nOD

Exploring apps, Dr. Beck is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Reach him at

Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: March 2012, page(s): 63