Friday, March 1, 2013

Macular Degeneration and the iPad

Consumer electronics are making inroads into eyecare! Patients with Macular Degeneration (AMD) now have the option of using electronic devices like the iPad from Apple to assist them in using the vision that they still have, and also to help monitor the progress of their disease.

Traditionally individuals with vision loss have had to use specialty visual aids in order to improve their vision. Magnifiers and CCTV's have been a godsend for folks who have trouble reading because of AMD. Many of these devices are difficult to use or very expensive. About 3 years ago the doctors at Skyvision Centers in Westlake, just outside of Cleveland, started to experiment with electronic reading devices like the Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Nook, and then the iPad. All four have the ability to magnify reading material, and nowadays you have access to not only books but also magazines and newspapers on all of them.

The iPad 2 from Apple is now equipped with a camera. Programs called "apps" are coming out which should allow you to scan a written page or picture and then magnify it automatically on the iPad screen. In upcoming posts we will do reviews of these apps as well as offer some tips on their use.

The SightBook app is a tool that allows patients to evaluate their vision at home and share that information with their eye doctor. A series of up close vision tests is taken by a patient using an iPad connected to the internet. Any changes will then be sent to the eye doctor. This is a free app available through the iTunes store. We'll check it out and report back soon!


  1. But, but ... you have to find and tap the little bitty icon before running the SightBook app!

  2. True enough, Ben! But you can blow up the icons on the iPad so that they aren't "itty bitty" at all!