Blog: 10 eyecare apps for more efficient patient care

April 3, 2019

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times® or Multimedia Healthcare.

It has been over 10 years since Apple launched its App Store.1 Today, apps are used to communicate, check account balances, shop, and countless other daily activities.

With approximately 2 million apps currently available to meet every conceivable need,2 it is no surprise Apple trademarked the slogan, “There’s an app for that!”

When trying to juggle a busy schedule, every minute counts. Time is a precious resource that must not be wasted.

Nowadays, ODs are pushed to work faster while maintaining a high standard of care and great customer service. We cannot work efficiently if we need to go back and forth between the exam room and that textbook tucked away in the office.

Previously by Dr. Recalde: Blog: Mission statement is key to a successful practice

There is also a potential risk the book an OD has may no longer be up to date. How many different versions of The Wills Eye Manual: Office and Emergency Room Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease do you have sitting in your office? And yet, somehow even the newest version is already several years out of date?

Apps have virtually eliminated the long, inefficient, and archaic process of accessing information. With a smartphone, ODs can easily access all the information they need with just the swipe of their fingertips. 

While there are hundreds of apps available in the eyecare space, we will focus on the top 10 mobile apps that can make an OD’s work life easier.

1. Eye Handbook by Cloud Nine Development
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS
If you need a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment reference app dedicated to eyecare providers, look no further. 

This app features calculators for glaucoma risk, diopter to radius conversion, and crossed cylinder. For patient testing, an OD can choose color vision, contrast sensitivity, Amsler grid, optokinetic (OKN) drum, pediatric fixation target, Worth Four Dot, and other tools.

The symptoms section provides examples of vision problems associated with certain eye diseases. Videos, audio files, and PowerPoint presentations are also available for educational benefits.

2. Smart Optometry by Smart Optometry
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS
ODs, ophthalmologists, and programmers created SmartOptometry to make eye tests more interesting. This versatile app is perfect for eye screening and quick diagnosis. It includes a conversion calculator for vertex and visual acuity. The app also contains 16 tests, including red desaturation, Hirschberg, and aniseikonia.

3. Ullman Indirect by Michael Ullman
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS

Michael Ullman, MD, created this app with support from fellow ophthalmology residents to help with retinal exams. This innovative app allows a user to take photos of the fundus with a phone, handheld 20D lens, and dilating drops. 

The app uses video mode to view the fundus and exports photos. A user can control the focus, exposure, light intensity, and image rotation for correct fundus orientation. There is a new feature with slit lamp mode for anterior segment photography.

With a bit of practice, an OD can have a convenient tool for viewing the fundus and saving retinal photos. The website UllmanIndirect.com provides tips and tutorials for ODs to improve their imaging skills with the app.

Related: Why patients are choosing eyecare apps over you

4. Chromatic Vision Simulator by Kazunori Asada
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS

Most ODs have been in situations where they are the first doctor to inform the parent that a child is colorblind. Explaining how the child sees colors differently may be challenging.

Chromatic Vision (CV) Simulator simulates color vision blindness using the camera on a smartphone. Images can be viewed and compared for normal, protanope, deuteranope, and tritanope. This app brings new meaning to the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

5. Eye Emergency Manual by Agency for Clinical Innovation
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS

If you don’t have the Wills Eye Manual downloaded on your phone, this app used by Emergency Departments is helpful for reference. While it is not specific for eyecare professionals, it provides valuable information for common eye emergencies when an OD may be answering urgent calls from patients in the middle of the night.

6. Parks 3-Step by Todd Zarwell
Cost: $1.99
Available: iOS only

Marshall Parks, MD, was an American ophthalmologist known as the father of pediatric ophthalmology. Dr. Parks’ method for isolating the paretic muscle makes it easier to manage vertical diplopia cases.

Todd Zarwell, OD, the creator of this app, gives it a modern-day upgrade by incorporating the Parks 3 Step method into a user-friendly app. ODs no longer need to follow the old-school method of drawing an H with eye muscle locations for each eye.

Related: 4 technologies that improve patient interactions

7. EyeDock by Health Innovation Technologies, Inc
Cost: Free, but requires yearly membership fee
Available: iOS only

Dr. Zarwell cofounded this app with Brian Chou, OD, in 2002. The tool contains a comprehensive database of contact lenses and allows a user to search for certain lens parameters. 

It also features an ophthalmic medication database and calculators for contact lens fittings. Although the app is free, it requires a $48-per-year membership fee to gain access. As an additional bonus, the membership fee includes access to the website version on eyedock.com, including special tools such as Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine, Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc.), Risk Calculators, Incentive Calculator for staff, Park’s Three-Step, CRT Lens Selector, and Patient Education tools.

If you don’t want to pay the $48 membership fee to use EyeDock, download the CL Calcs app-also created by Dr. Zarwell.The cost for this light version of EyeDock is $4.99 and includes contact lens calculators.

8. Good Rx Pro by GoodRx, Inc
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS

GoodRx Pro is designed for professionals to help save patients money. The app researches current prices from local and mail-order pharmacies, rebate programs, and Medicare co-pays. An OD can create a favorites list of medications for easy reference. It is especially helpful when patients don’t have pharmacy coverage, and an OD needs to weigh the cost of the medication in the final decision.

9. Epocrates by Epocrates
Cost: Free
Available: Android and iOS

After being downloaded over a million times, Epocrates has earned the title of “The King of Drug Reference” apps. It contains facts on drugs, formulary information, pricing, and pharmacology information. The fact that it can handle a plethora of information in a user-friendly interface makes this a popular app.

10. Optics Clinical Calculator by Evan Schoenberg
Cost: $4.99
Available: iOS only

Last but not least, Optics Clinical Calculator is an app for ODs and opticians. This app contains 11 calculators for optics. Do you need an intermediate prescription at a length the patient precisely measured down to the nearest centimeter?

This app will calculate the exact prescription for your patient. Do you have a patient that may need slab-off but you’re not sure if it is necessary? You don’t need to whip out your notes for Prentice’s Rule. Simply enter the glasses prescription and the slab-off calculator will do the rest.

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References:

1. Apple. The App Store turns 10. Available at: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2018/07/app-store-turns-10/. Accessed 4/1/19.
2. Statista. Number of apps available in leading app stores as of 3rd quarter 2018. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/. Accessed 4/1/19.