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Today's Practice | Jan 2012

Useful Resources for the Ophthalmologist

Smartphone and tablet applications can increase the efficiency of your practice.

Smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone and the iPad (both from Apple Inc.) have become integral parts of our lives. We can personalize the content on these devices to make resources available at the touch of a fingertip. This article describes several applications, more commonly known as apps, that are useful for the ophthalmologist.


No. 1: Eye Handbook (Cloud Nine Development LLC; free on the iPhone and Android [Google]). This app may be described as the Swiss Army Knife of ophthalmology apps. Most apps are specialized by use, but this app encompasses a variety of abilities, including vision testing, patient education, physician reference, and calculators. With regard to the calculators, this app includes a visual acuity converter, a surgically induced astigmatism calculator, and a converter of dioptric powers to radii of curvature.

For patient education, the app features various diagrams of the eye that may be used to illustrate a disease or condition to patients. Additionally, the Eye Handbook enables users to purchase patient education videos and flashcards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), both of which can be used to educate patients.

The Eye Handbook app features various reference tools as well, including a large number of photographs of ophthalmic conditions in its eye atlas and an extensive list of links to ophthalmology journal Web sites. Furthermore, the app includes tools to (roughly) assess visual function, such as an Amsler grid, Ishihara color vision plates, an optokinetic nystagmus drum simulator, and various fixation targets for children.

No. 2: Eye Pro 2011 (EB Eye Limited; €2.39 [limitedtime offer]). This app features the Borasio Edmondo Smith and Stevens (BESSt) 2.0 formula for IOL calculation after laser refractive surgery. Additionally, ophthalmologists can use the app to create a plot of surgically induced astigmatism with pre- and postoperative astigmatism data, which subsequently can be exported via e-mail for further use. This app also allows users to calculate IOL power with the SRK/T and Hoffer Q formulas. Furthermore, it includes various calculators, including one to calculate the surgically induced astigmatism in an individual eye.

No. 3: Wills Eye Manual (Skyscape; €62.99). This app is a renowned reference guide for ophthalmology compiled by Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. Similar to the print edition of the manual, the app describes the symptoms, signs, work-up, treatment, and followup of various eye disorders. With the mobile edition, users can carry this extensive reference at all times, and it allows easy searching through a vast amount of information. With purchase, you receive content updates for 12 months, thus keeping you up-to-date for a long time.

No. 4: Colorblind Vision (opcoders.com; €0.79). This app simulates color deficiencies in real time. Images captured with the iPhone’s built-in camera are instantly transformed into images as seen by someone with deuteranopia, protanopia, tritanopia, or achromatopsia. This app therefore allows you to experience the world around you as someone would with any of these color deficiencies.

No. 5: CataractSurgery for the iPad and CataractMobile for the iPhone (George Kong softwares; free). These apps allow the user to practice creating a capsulorrhexis and sculpting a lens on his or her device. As of yet, it does not provide a true-life experience; however, it is interesting to see what is already possible with these electronic devices and also fun to let friends outside the ophthalmic profession try some cataract surgery themselves.


Apps from major ophthalmic societies. Societies including the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) have made their annual meeting programs available as smartphone apps. The apps allow you to browse the programs in advance and create a schedule of the courses and scientific presentations you wish to attend. Furthermore, they often feature a map of the convention center and a layout of the industry exhibition. These apps limit the need to bring the abstract book with you to the congress, making you more mobile.

Evernote (Evernote; free). While attending a congress, you may want to take notes. Evernote, a useful app for this purpose, is great for both recording and organizing notes. The Evernote app is available for almost all smartphones. Above all, it instantly synchronizes data from your smartphone to your Mac or Windows desktop, making it easy to access your new knowledge once you have returned home.


Papers (mekentosj.com; €7.990). This is an app for the iPhone and iPad that lets you put your entire scientific literature database in your pocket and have it available at your fingertips whenever and wherever you go—at a conference, in a meeting, in the clinic, or on the couch in the evening. Although it can be used on its own, Papers may also be used with its Mac desktop counterpart, and the two versions can be synced with each other.


iBooks (Apple Inc.; free). Numerous ophthalmology journals and books have now begun appearing in Apple’s App Store. For example, the AAO has published its Basic and Clinical Science Course as an electronic book in the iTunes Store and the iBookstore, enabling the text to be read with the iBooks app. Elsevier, Inc., has started developing iPad apps for its monthly peer-reviewed journals, American Journal of Ophthalmology and Ophthalmology. These apps are the electronic equivalents of the printed journals and allow selected articles to be downloaded to your iPad for offline reading. Currently, the apps provide only a basic journal reading experience, as the publisher has only recently developed them. One current limitation is that you cannot export articles in PDF format; therefore, it is not yet possible to export content to the aforementioned Papers app for archiving.

Newsstand (Apple Inc.; free). With the recent introduction of Newsstand for the iPhone and iPad, various ophthalmology magazines are now available within this app. In fact, you may be reading this article on your iPad in the Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today Europe magazine.

Eyetube (Bryn Mawr Communications, LLC; €0.79). Finally, Eyetube.net, the online video archive dedicated to ophthalmology, with videos on cataract and refractive surgery among other topics, is also available on the iPad and iPhone. The newly released Eyetube app makes it even easier to access the vast amount of fully narrated ophthalmology videos that are available through this valuable resource for ophthalmologists. For more information, see The Eyetube App, page 18.

Nic J. Reus, MD, PhD, is an ophthalmologist at the Cataract Center of The Rotterdam Eye Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He states that he has no financial interest in the products or companies mentioned. Dr. Reus may be reached at e-mail: n.reus@oogziekenhuis.nl.