​Glaucoma p​​atients can learn about proper eye care and common eye conditions with videos and pictures from the mobile application.

Glaucoma patients who often forget to apply their eye drops can now use a smartphone app to remind them to do so.

​MyEyeDrops, the app was launched by the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), a member of the SingHealth group, in February 2013. It is believed to be the first free app of its kind available on the App Store and Google Play.

The app displays different eye drops with accompanying photos to help glaucoma patients or their caregivers set up and manage different lists of medication. Users can then set up “appointments” on the go to remind them to apply their eye drops at the right time.

The app also allows users to set up medication lists and appointment reminders for different people, a convenient feature for those who are taking care of more than one patient. Video clips are included to educate users on proper eye care and inform them about common eye conditions.

Glaucoma: Apply eye drops regularly to a​void complications

A study of 344 glaucoma patients in 2011 found that 70 per cent of them tend to forget to apply their medication. This can increase the risk of complications, said Dr Daniel Su, Visiting Consultant, Glaucoma Service, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), and co-project leader of the MyEyeDrops app.

The eye drops are meant to relieve eye pressure, which is higher in glaucoma patients. “If eye pressure remains elevated, it may damage the optic nerve and this can lead to blindness,” said Dr Su.

“So, it is important for patients to apply their eye drops regularly. Not applying the medication can cause eye pressure to stay high and the risk of blindness remains, or is even increased.”

About half of all glaucoma patients need more than one type of eye drops, so the app’s ability to track the different medication will be a big help to patients and their caregivers, said Dr Jocelyn Chua, Visiting Consultant, Glaucoma Service, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), and co-project leader.

Glaucoma patient Mdm Daisy Tan, 66, found the app very useful. The retiree sometimes forgets to apply her eye drops. There are also times when she cannot remember which eye she applied the medication to. “The app acts as my medical diary,” she said. “I can record details of my eye pressure. It also keeps me updated on my medical appointments.”

MyEyeDrops was developed by SNEC and Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) – the IT arm of the Ministry of Health (MOH ) – and was co-funded by SNEC and MOH. MyEyeDrops draws on IHiS and SingHeath’s experience in developing mobile apps for chronic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and renal conditions.

Click on page 2 to learn about the genetic risk factors for glaucoma​.​

Ref: S13