New app for glaucoma patients
The app called MyEyeDrops will help curb patients from missing their medications.
BY: Eleanor Yap
The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has launched the world’s first free mobile app for patients with glaucoma, which will remind them and their caregivers to apply their eye drops regularly. The app is available for Android phones through Google Play and Apple iPhones through the App Store.
The eye drops help control eye pressure, which is one of the main risk factors of glaucoma, and prevent deterioration.
The doctors at SNEC found that many patients tended to miss their medications, including eye drops, even with having a glaucoma counseling service at SNEC to educate patients on the importance of eye drops. In a medication compliance audit by SNEC for its glaucoma patients, which was performed on 275 patients during the period of November 2011 to September 2012, about 20 percent of patients were still not using their medications regularly.
“About 52 percent of glaucoma patients require more than one type of eye drop for good eye pressure control. Managing two or more medications is a challenge for most glaucoma patients and their caregivers,” said Dr Daniel Su, consultant, Glaucoma Service at SNEC. “We hope that with this new app, both patients and caregivers are aided by technology to help them remember to apply their eye drops on time.”
The app provides comprehensive, easy-to-search information on glaucoma and other common eye conditions. Developed specially with the practical needs of glaucoma patients and their caregivers in mind, SNEC uses innovation and technology to ensure that the app is loaded with useful functionalities from pre-set reminders coupled with actual photos of the eye drop bottles for easy identification to help users apply multiple eye drops medication on-the-go throughout the day, to useful reminders for medical appointments or when the eye drops will be running out. It also has a calendar of educational eye talks, and a medical diary for them to input any medical history such as drug allergy.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and affects an estimated 80 million people. In Singapore, this chronic eye condition is also the leading cause of blindness and accounts for 34 percent of those who are blind in at least one eye who are in the age range of 40 to 79.
In a cross-sectional population survey conducted from 1997 to 1998 by SNEC – the Tanjong Pagar Eye Study, the prevalence of glaucoma was found to be 3.2 percent in those 40 years and older. And, this will likely increase as a result of an ageing population.
So with this mind, the app is timely. Shared 66-year-old Daisy Tan, a retired civil servant, who has been a glaucoma patient at SNEC for seven years: “With MyEyeDrops, we can now be assured that we are putting in the right eye drops into the right eye and at the right time. I don’t have to worry about missing my eye drops anymore with the convenient app.”