To provide a comprehensive review of smartphone applications (apps) specific to Ophthalmic practice and the level of healthcare professional involvement in their design or development, and evidence base to support their use.
The United States (US) and Australian iTunes app store were searched for Ophthalmology-related apps. The category, target audience, update schedule, ratings, reviews and information about the developer were described in detail according to the website. We excluded apps that did not focus solely on Ophthalmology, conference adjuncts, links to subscription journals, and those promoting ophthalmic practices, institutions or products. Apps which met the inclusion criteria had their names searched on PubMed to determine if there were any published studies involving the app.
A total of 129 apps were identified which met the inclusion criteria. The top 3 categories were references (35%), calculators (20%) and visual tests (17%). The majority of the apps had infrequent updates (66% not updated within the last year) and no user ratings or reviews†(86.8% for Australia and 55.8% for the US). Only 18% of apps had documented Ophthalmologist or eye institution involvement in the conception, development or design. A search of PubMed revealed no published studies on any of the apps.
There is a shortage of ophthalmology apps which have engaged healthcare professionals during app development. Our literature search also failed to identify evidence based studies with respect to content accuracy and reliability of these apps.