Study: Mobile app could help monitor AMD and diabetic retinopathy

By Laura Lovett

A new study found that a mobile-based app could be an effective way of monitoring age-related mucular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. A study recently presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology or AAO, reported that patients who used DigiSight's Paxos Checkup app, got comparable results to those who had traditional clinical checkups. 

Correction: This paragraph has been updated to accurately reflect the condition in the study. 

The study was conducted by the Northern California Retina Vitreous Associates in Mountain View, California and sponsored by DigiSight.

“We believe mobile device-based applications, especially for vision, hold a lot of great potential. One of the issues is that a lot of these apps need to be validated with proper clinical testing,” said Dr. Raul Khurana, a leading researcher in the study. “The data that we reported in the CLEAR study, is to assess the agreement between the Checkup vision assessment, which is an app, and standard visual test.” 

In the study, 27 participants who either had AMD or diabetic retinopathy were monitored with Checkup at home. Patients were evaluated at baseline and at two monthly visits. In between office visits patients were instructed to use Checkup for VA and Amsler testing, typically used to monitor the condition, at least twice a week at home, according to the study. 

The study found a strong agreement between the test results of Checkup and the reference tests for both the AV and Amsler tests. The study reported “excellent agreement” between the app and the clinical testing. The patient usability survey showed a 100 percent successful home use rate, according to the study. The study also revealed that Checkup has good repeatability, according Khurana.

He also said initially he was concerned that patients with poor vision wouldn't be able to use the app.

“The patients said they really enjoyed it and really liked it. In fact the usability survey had a very high rate [of approval]. That was really reassuring to me,” said Khurana.

Checkup was developed by San Francisco-based DigiSight, which raised $7.8 million in 2015.

“We think this is going to give the ability to understand how a patients vision is changing or not changing in-between visits,” DigiSight’s CEO Doug Foster told MobiHealthNews.

During the study, the app test was not connected to physicians' records but Khurana said that this could be the future of apps such as this. 

“We're excited about the potential of this technology to improve patient care," said Khurana, in a statement. "More and larger studies are required to make sure it works as well as our small study showed. But we found that it encouraged patients to take a more active role in their care, and they found it easy to use.”