Keeping up with medical knowledge and its growing sources can be daunting. Thankfully, mobile technologies made things a bit easier, particularly mobile apps that assemble the data in a cohesive manner and provide information at the fingertips. There are so many smartphone apps out there for every branch of medicine, including ophthalmology.
The ophthalmology apps cover a range of topics, including ophthalmic emergencies, instructions and resources on how to perform different eye tests and procedures, reference and educational materials to aid eye care specialists in delivering better patient care, and so on.
Although these apps are more than welcome addition to every eye care specialist's workday, they're rarely comprehensive resources offering a wide scope of features and options.
The app we review today, however, is an exception.
Eye Handbook app is probably the most comprehensive ophthalmology app out there, and one of the complete medical reference apps around. It is a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment reference app for ophthalmologists, optometrists, physicians and other medical professionals, but for patients as well.
The app is jam-packed with features and resources, but that's not a bad thing at all. Most important, it's free.
Eye Handbook app is developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), which provides a lot of valuable and credible resources and links.
Upon downloading and opening the app, you'll be required to register an account, if you already don't have one. The registration is quick and simple, requiring some basic information about you, your profession, and your credentials.
After the registration is completed, Eye Handbook app would open to the home page featuring the app's main sections with testing tools, physician reference tools, physician education tools, calculators, and other tools.
For example, there is Calculator section containing the medical calculators commonly used in ophthalmology, Testing section featuring visual tests and eye exams, Coding section with ICD-9 and ICD-10 ophthalmology and optometry codes along with a calculator, EHB manual section, EYE Atlas, Symptoms, Meds, and more.
As you may see, the app is indeed packed with features that any eye care professional would find useful. I probably won't go into much detail for every feature, because it would take a lot of time, so I would try to mention basics and the most important things.
The emphasis here is on physician reference tools, including calculators, tests, EHB manual with detailed information about various ophthalmic conditions, as well as medications and therapy.
Eye Handbook also pays attention to physician education, so here we'd find a lot of tools, such as a list of diagnoses not to miss, questionnaires for commonly encountered ophthalmic diseases, a color-coded diagram of retinal drawings, benchmark studies, and so on.
Coding section contains ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes for ophthalmic conditions, along with converter that enables viewing obsolete ICD-9 codes with their respective ICD-10 codes.
One of the most interesting tools for me was Spanish section, containing an alphabetical list of ophthalmology terms in English, along with Spanish translation and pronunciation.
Eye Handbook also contains a lot of media, including images, videos, audio recordings, lecture slides, e-books, flashcards, and more. Some of the media is available for free, while others can be purchased.
Most of the images are located in EYE Atlas section showing different eye pathologies with a brief description. You can zoom into the image, however, that won't improve its quality.
Another section that utilizes images, or one image shown in different ways, is Symptoms section. This section shows how a patient with various ophthalmic symptoms might view the world.
There are also videos and slides containing mostly educational material. Videos are linked to YouTube, while the lectures are downloaded in the app. There's a problem with both – you cannot view them horizontally which can be a problem on smaller screens.
All tools for physicians are also accessible from Physician section on the Home page. Also applies to media, which is available in its own category that is visible once you tap on menu icon on the Home page.
Other categories include Forums where the app users can participate in the discussion with other users, or AAO providing links and access to various resources, free and paid, from American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Here, you'd also notice Patient category with different resources for patients, including eye diagrams, patient education, testing, symptoms, etc.
Besides by categories, the app's menu can be viewed by Index A-Z, which enables quick access to all app's features.
Organized this way, this may look hidden or disorganized, which is actually true and which is my biggest complaint. The app is crammed with features, and accessing them could be confusing, especially when using the app for the first time. Sections and categories should be redesigned to be more UX-friendly.
Users can customize the home page tho, meaning they could remove certain section they don't need, but that still doesn't fix the problem.
Another problem I had was the advertising. There were intrusive pop-up ads everywhere, every time I'd tap on the section or link. The ads would cover the screen and sometimes they couldn't be turned off right away.
The app includes many in-app purchases mostly for additional features, such as videos, lectures, guides, etc. Having one more 'getting rid of ads' purchase at a symbolic price would be more than welcome for everyone who doesn't want to be disturbed while using the app.
These, however, are small objections that don't spoil my overall impression with this app. Eye Handbook app is an amazing app and a must have diagnostic, treatment and reference tool for ophthalmologists, optometrists, physicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as patients.
Benefit: The app is geared toward eye care specialists and general practitioners, but the patients could also benefit from it.