Here at La Jolla LASIK Institute we like to stay on top of the most cutting-edge technology in the ophthalmological world. One breakthrough trend we’ve noticed lately: vision-related apps for smartphones. From vision tests to optical illusions, these applications are increasingly growing in popularity in the smartphone community. While we can’t promise that any of these are medically accurate, we can promise that they’re entertaining! Here is a top five list of various vision apps that we’ve found to be the most diverse and interesting:
NETRA App (Not yet priced: estimated $1.99) – Although this app is still a prototype, it looks extremely promising. Developed at MIT for the Android, NETRA has gained a lot of publicity recently. After downloading the app, the user will attach an inexpensive ($2) lens to the screen of their smartphone and hold it up to their eye. The user will align patterns presented in the lens by pushing buttons on the phone, which is repeated four times (one for each eye's axis). Once this is complete, the app delivers the user’s eyewear prescription. Keep an eye out for this one, folks – we can’t wait for this to arrive on the market. At first we were skeptical that a product used at near could accurately test for a person's distance prescription, but the data on this one looks promising. If it works, it could be a great solution for rapidly screening large groups of indigent people around the world. We look forward to testing it out on medical missions and at health fairs when it's available.
Amazing Illusions: Fun Optical Puzzles ($0.99) – This app holds an excellent collection of optical illusions and puzzles that are both entertaining and stimulating. The illusions are mostly presented in a Q&A format so unless you pick the “cheat” option (don’t get tempted!) you can test your mental abilities and share them with your friends. Apparently there is a warning not to use this on your pets!!?? So, please don't mesmerize little Fifi.
Eye Exercises – Daily Program ($0.99) – We list this one because you're bound to find it and ask about it. There is only ONE diagnosis, convergence insufficiency, that has ever proven to benefit from "eye exercises." AND standard convergence insufficiency treatment requires one piece of equipment -- an ordinary pencil! We bet you can get a pencil cheaper than $0.99, but if you can't, here's an app for you. This app has some other stuff on it too, so check it out if you're curious.
PseudoChromatic ColorTest (Free) – This app is designed specifically to assess color vision deficiency. It delivers the user a series of images where a colored number is presented in the middle of another color – this is known as the Ishihara Color Test. This app also great fun because it provides information on the different types of color perception, statistics on people who experience color deficiency, and the ways in which color deficiency is passed on genetically.
EyeXam (Free) – Since NETRA hasn’t quite come out yet, this is the next best thing. EyeXam helps users evaluate their vision with an eye chart using the highest performance method. There are tests for color perception, eye dominance, and astigmatism. Its revenue model seems to be to be a paid directory for local eye doctors, so check it out and tell us if it's good enough for us to be a listed eye clinic.