contact lens practice pearls
Eyecare Applications for the iPhone
BY JOHN MARK JACKSON, OD, MS, FAAO
If the overall popularity of Apple's iPhone is any indication, I'm betting a fair number of you are “app happy.” One of the best things about the iPhone is the abundance of low-priced applications available from the App Store. Even cooler is the fact that there are quite a few that are geared towards contact lenses and other aspects of eye care. In this article, I will review a few of my favorites.
Opticalc Contact Lens Calculator
This is a great app for contact lens practitioners. Enter the patient's spectacle prescription, and the application will vertex the lens for you and provide a recommended contact lens power either for a spherical lens or for a soft toric. It will also calculate the recommended soft toric lens power after you input the trial lens power and over-refraction.
I think that the price is a little high ($4.99) for having only these two functions, but it works well and the interface is good. I would like for it to also include conversion of base curve from diopters to millimeters and perhaps a base curve change/power change calculator for GP lenses.
This free app contains a tremendous amount of information—some useful, some not so useful.
It has a variety of small acuity charts, Ishihara color vision plates, lists of differential diagnoses, and even a Spanish opto dictionary.
From the contact lens perspective, the most useful tool is an atlas of eye disease photos so you can show your patient very ugly pictures of Acanthamoeba keratitis, GPC, and other contact lens complications.
Epocrates is a widely used service for medical professionals that provides up-to-date pharmacology information. Although the app is free, you can also subscribe for more advanced features (such as ICD-9 codes). The app will provide you with a wealth of information on medication uses, pharmacological mechanisms, dosing, contraindications and interactions, and even photographs of pills.
The user interface is good, but you have to dig a little to find what a particular drug is used for if you aren't familiar with it. A consumer-oriented app that provides a similar function is Drugs and Meds: Pharmacology, which is available for 99 cents.
The free version of this app probably provides all of the functionality that you are likely to need. You can type in partial diagnosis terms (such as cornea, kerato-), and it will provide you with a list of disease names and codes. You can also look up lists organized by organ system rather than typing in a search.
The free version runs a little slow on the phone. You can also pay $29.99 for the upgrade.
Want to measure how many degrees that toric lens is rotating? This free app uses the accelerometer to determine how many degrees the phone is tilted. You can align the slit lamp beam with the phone's screen and read off the rotation. Of course, if you have a protractor on your slit lamp this is overkill—but it's fun to show to patients.
The evolution of technology is truly amazing. Just a few years ago you could only dream of having this much information at your fingertips. The potential for enhancing patient care with iPhone apps is unlimited. And, of course, you can also play Sudoku between patients. CLS
Dr. Jackson is an associate professor at Southern College of Optometry where he works in the Advanced Contact Lens Service, teaches courses in contact lenses, and performs clinical research.