Vision screening app proves as a viable tool for pediatricians

Vision screening app proves as a viable tool for pediatricians

There's a new smartphone application that could help make pediatric vision photo screening more effective. The GoCheck Kids app screens a young child's eyesight using the built-in camera to assess vision for refractive risk factors for amblyopia, the most common cause of visual impairment among children. Early detection can avoid potential vision loss and, if discovered by age 7, can stop amblyopia from becoming a permanent health issue.

The GoCheck Kids app has been in pilot mode since January at Mia Bella Pediatrics in Orange County, California, and pediatrician Suzy McNulty says her young patients are embracing the technology.Current vision tests require a verbal cue assessment process, making diagnosis in children often impractical, to say the least. The mobile app, which has the potential to change this, has been in pilot mode since January at Mia Bella Pediatrics in Orange County, California, and pediatrician Suzy McNulty told FierceMobileHealthcare her young patients are embracing the technology.

"Children don't seem to mind the screening as they are very familiar with having their picture taken with a phone," McNulty said, adding that her staff needed about 15 minutes to learn how to use the app. "There is a learning curve of a day or so to get learn how to better pictures, similar to when you buy a new camera."

She also had good things to say about the usability of the application, both for those using and patients. "It is often a challenge to get the 3-year-olds and even some of the more shy or stubborn 4-year-olds to cooperate with the eye chart. The app has eliminated this problem and changed the way we are able to utilize vision screening," McNulty noted.

The GoCheck Kids app is still in pilot mode with full national deployment scheduled for this fall. By that time, it may also get some upgrades like the ability to better follow referrals to the ophthalmologist. It remains to be seen whether more pediatricians will adopt it, making vision photo screening a breeze for more kids.

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