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  • Written By: Daniel M. Miller, MD PhD
    Retina/Vitreous

    This pilot study found that elderly wet AMD patients were willing and able to comply with daily self-testing of retinal visual function using mobile handheld devices. This is an intriguing study, and further research using this system is planned.

    As the volume of macular degeneration patients steadily increases with increased life spans and aging baby boomers, models to effectively monitor and care for this increasing patient population are key. Technology may offer a way to improve monitoring of patients with macular diseases.

    This was a 16-week, prospective, open-label, single-arm study. It enrolled 160 patients from 24 centers with wet AMD in at least one eye (newly diagnosed or successfully treated for less than one year) and eligible for ranibizumab therapy.

    The patients performed a shape discrimination hyperacuity test on an iPhone 3Gs. Data from the test were collected in a central database for analysis, and reminders to perform the visual function test were sent to patients via their mobile devices.

    Most patients complied with daily testing (84.7 percent), and a high proportion (98.9 percent) performed at least weekly testing.

    This study demonstrated the feasibility of using this remote system to monitor the retinal visual function of elderly patients with wet AMD using mobile handheld devices. This system has the potential to provide frequent, regular, remote self-testing of retinal function between scheduled clinic visits, enabling clinicians to monitor their patients’ well-being and retinal visual function remotely as an adjunct to regular clinic visits.