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New mobile app reminds glaucoma patients to apply their eyedrops

SINGAPORE - Glaucoma patients will now be able to get constant reminders to help them apply eye drops at regular intervals and when to top-up their eye drop supplies.
Asia One - February 21, 2013
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New mobile app reminds glaucoma patients to apply their eyedrops

SINGAPORE - Glaucoma patients will now be able to get constant reminders to help them apply eye drops at regular intervals and when to top-up their eye drop supplies.

The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has launched what is believed to be Singapore's and the world's first free glaucoma eye care app called "MyEyeDrops". The app is available for both Android phones and Apple iPhones through Google Play and the Apple App Store respectively.

Besides providing reminders for patients to apply eye drops, the app also provides comprehensive and easy-to-search-for information and videos pertaining to glaucoma and other common eye conditions.

This smartphone app also allows for the making clinical appointments and appointment reminders for for both single and multiple users. This is useful for caregivers should they be caring for more than one patient.

Other notable features include a calendar of educational eye talks and a medical diary for users to input any medical history such as a drug allergy.

Elevated eye pressure is one of the main risk factor of glaucoma - a blinding eye condition.

Regular use of eye drops in controlling eye pressure is critical in preventing the deterioration of the disease, which can lead to the permanent loss of vision.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and affects an estimated 80 million people, said SNEC. This chronic eye condition is also the leading cause of blindness in Singapore, accounting for 34 per cent of those who are blind in at least one eye.

At SNEC alone, 40,000 outpatient visits are managed at the glaucoma specialist clinics each year.

In a cross-sectional population survey conducted in Singapore, the prevalence of glaucoma was found to be 3.2 per cent in those 40 years and older.

This prevalence is set to increase with age and thus is a pertinent healthcare concern looking at the ageing population situation in Singapore.

"About 52 per cent of glaucoma patients require more than one type of eye drop for good eye pressure control," said Dr Daniel Su, Glaucoma Service Consultant at the SNEC and co-project leader.

However, the compliance rate among glaucoma patients was found to be poor, with 70.6 per cent of them having a tendency to miss their medications.

Although a glaucoma counselling service was initiated at SNEC to better educate patients on the importance of eye drops, many still find it difficult to follow a regular regime, SNEC said.

A recent medication compliance audit showed that about 20 per cent of patients are still not using their medications regularly despite glaucoma counselling, said Dr Jocelyn Chua, Glaucoma Service Consultant at the SNEC and co-project leader.

"Managing two or more medications is a challenge for most glaucoma patients and their caregivers. We hope that with this new app, both patients and caregivers are aided by technology to help them remember to apply their eye drops on time," said Dr Su.

The glaucoma mobile app was developed by SNEC and IHiS, the IT arm of Ministry of Health (MOH), and co-funded by SNEC and MOH.

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