In the minds of many medical professionals, ophthalmology represents a tiny microcosm of medicine. Few outsiders have a deep understanding of what ophthalmology entails. And because the retina is already a small part of an already small organ, even fewer have the confidence and skill to examine and diagnose retinal disease.
iEye Retina aims to ameliorate this by teaching some of the most clinically relevant conditions affecting the retina. 24 diseases are available (though some are variations of each other) for the user to access via reference or quiz mode. Because ophthalmology is a visual field, the app teaches via a combination of both images and text.
Upon entering the app, an opening screen is displayed, bearing a striking resemblance to the opening screen of the much loved old iMurmur app. After selecting a disease, one is presented with a fundoscopic image. Options exist to allow the user to highlight the important areas on the retina, or to read accompanying details. The details provide a general overview of the disease entity, and the important points that can be gleaned from the image. A convenient button enables one to compare the disease with a normal retina, which is especially helpful because beginners will not often know what normal looks like, and thus be unable to spot the abnormal. The fundoscopic images are quite classic pictures of the diseases in question, and the information taught is quite basic, which is ideal for medical students seeking to brush up on ophthalmoscopy for an ophthalmology rotation or elective.
The quiz section boils down to viewing the content in a different way. One can select the diseases one wants to be on the quiz from preset or through a custom quiz (though with only 24 diseases, there’s little point in painstakingly customizing a quiz). An image is randomly presented, after guessing, the user can see the answer. The option to highlight the important areas, view the details, or view a normal retina is still present.
Given the dearth of quality ophthalmology apps in the App Store (plenty of Snellen Eye Charts though), iEye Retina is certainly a welcome addition. It is a simple and effective app at drilling key concepts. However, I do feel the app could benefit from multiple images for one disease, rather than just one classic picture. It becomes very easy to associate a disease with the one particular image that the app generates. The risk of course, is that a slightly different presentation of the same disease can throw the user off in the clinic. The app could also benefit from expanding the number of available pathologies, as 24 does not cover the whole spectrum of retinal disease, though it admittedly does cover most of what medical students would be expected to know. The explanations of diseases are certainly basic and intended for medical students.
In short, iEye Retina is a delightful little app that is best suited for medical students seeking to improve their ophthalmoscopy skills. It is quite simple and basic, but it is appropriate for its intended audience. This app could definitely be improved by expanding the number of images and pathologies covered, but I would be happy to see similar apps covering additional ophthalmology topics in the future.
- Succinct review of key retinal diseases
- Highlights and explains key findings on fundoscopy
- Could benefit from additional images for each pathology
- Would like to see the app expanded to cover a broader spectrum of diseases
- iEye Retina is a good, succinct review of retinal disease, suitable for medical students on an ophthalmology rotation or elective