iPad Apps Could Screen Eyes for Glaucoma in Developing Countries

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Remote areas where eye doctors are few and far between may have a new tool to screen for glaucoma, the world's leading cause of blindness: an iPad app. Places like rural India and Africa may have clinics to take care of broken bones and other common maladies, but specialists are harder to find. That means diseases that start slow, like glaucoma, can advance dangerously far without being detected. A new study conducted in Nepal, however, found that an app called Visual Fields Easy running on a first-generation iPad can screen dozens of people per hour and detect early signs of deteriorating vision. It's not as good as the industry standard test, but it's faster and doesn't require a doctor to be present. Anyone who presents symptoms could follow up the next time an ophthalmologist is in range. "Although not perfect," said lead research Chris Johnson of the University of Iowa in a news release, "the tablet glaucoma screening method could make a significant difference in remote locations where populations would not otherwise receive screening at all."



—Devin Coldewey