Glaucoma patients in Singapore will now be reminded to apply eye drops and top-up their eye drop supplies with the help of a new app launched by the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC).
“MyEyeDrops”—believed to be the first free glaucoma eye care app, was launched recently and is now available for both Android phones and Apple iPhones through Google Play and the Apple App Store respectively.
Aside from reminding the patients, the app also provides comprehensive and search friendly system for information and videos related to glaucoma and other common eye conditions.
Patients are allowed to make clinical appointments and set appointment reminders for both single and multiple users via the app, making it convenient and useful for caregivers who care more than one patient.
The app also comes with notable features such as calendar of educational eye talks and medical diary for users to input any medical history such as a drug allergy.
Regular use of eye drops is important to control eye pressure and prevent the deterioration of the disease that are the main risk factors of glaucoma—a permanent blinding eye condition.
The SNEC said that Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide affecting an estimated 80 million people. In Singapore, this chronic eye condition is also the main cause of permanent blindness, accounting for 34 per cent of the blinds in at least one eye.
Each year, there are 40,000 outpatients visit the SNEC for the glaucoma specialist clinics.
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.
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