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PODCAST: Developing an app to detect vision threatening AMD

A major risk of permanent vision loss with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is when a sudden worsening, due to bleeding occurs and goes undetected.

Picture of Prof Robyn Guymer in front of an eye chart

Prof Robyn Guymer

Principal Investigator Professor Robyn Guymer, together with Dr. George Kong and Professor Algis Vingrys (Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Melbourne) have devised a new approach to mitigate this problem using an app designed for the iPad.

“When someone is diagnosed with the early stages of AMD they generally monitor their vision looking for a sudden change in what they see with a paper chart called an Amsler grid, which they usually stick on their fridge,” Professor Guymer said.

The sad fact is people don’t test their vision with the paper test properly nor do the test often enough. Additionally they often take no action even if they notice a change.

“We want the app not only to detect changes in eye health in the home but also to alert both them, and us, about any deterioration.”

The app has the potential to send reminders to patients telling them to take the test, or repeat the test if a problem was noted.

Once sure the app works in the home Professor Guymer aims to incorporate techniques that are used in electronic games, to make it fully engaging.

”I want users to enjoy it as an interactive and competitive game they can play, have fun but at the same time monitor their vision,” Professor Guymer said.

Listen to the podcast below: