Your Next Eye Test on an iPad…

Stephanie Campbell, NCN Lead Optometrist

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board


Eye departments are experiencing unprecedented demand due to increasing drug treatments available for elderly and diabetic populations. Stable patients must be monitored regularly yet there is simply not enough capacity in the current eye care system to meet this requirement.

The traditional eye chart remains largely unchanged over the last 150 years. While very useful for checking glasses, the eye chart in (its current form) is now known to be a poor indicator of disease. Incorporating measurements of vision, such as sensitivity to low contrast, is scientifically known to monitor cataract more effectively. However, convention is such that the uptake into eye clinics is very limited.


The advent of devices such as tablets and smartphones provides a platform for the measurement of vision in a more comprehensive way. Not only can small detail (like on the traditional eye chart) be measured, but many other scientific principles previously confined to the laboratory.

Gaming technology is used to maintain interest of the patient, providing much more accurate responses, collecting data based on what the patient does and does not respond to.

Of course, further development of the technology will mean that patients can safely monitor their vision from home, and away from hospital clinics.

The above model demonstrates how specialist review is a time-consuming aspect of the treatment cycle.

With the developing tech, stable patients may be monitored regularly from home, freeing up capacity for patients with worsening vision who need close specialist monitoring, in hospital clinics, in person.