Yes, there’s an app for that!
If you have trouble remembering to use which eye drop when or are having vision problems, you know how much it means whenever you can find ways to continue to live very independently! Since most people have smartphones, here are some apps you, a family member, or a friend might find useful.
Seeing AI is an app that has a learning curve but once you master it, it is kind of amazing! Via artificial intelligence, it can recognize and speak text detected by the smartphone or tablet camera, either in tiny snatches (such as a text message) or full pages at a time. It can read bar codes on grocery and other product labels, offering up the product name, and some additional information, such as nutrition labeling, cooking, and other instructions. A recent update includes several new features such as a currency reader to speak the denomination of US and Canadian currency, a color monitor that can name the color of an item in front of the camera, and a handwriting recognizer that can actually read cursive. Unfortunately, this app is only currently available on iOS devices, but the upside is that it is free to download and use. Learn More.
EyeDropAlarm was recommended as the “Top App For Patients” at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting. It has also been featured in many professional Ophthalmology publications. This app helps to reduce errors by clearly indicating the bottle cap color (different types of eye drops have different colors of caps) and right or left eye, so drops are taken as prescribed. It also has built-in algorithms for drops that start out being used a higher number of times each day and then taper off. This app would be very useful for glaucoma patients, post-surgical patients, and patients with corneal ulcers or uveitis. It is available for Android and iOS and is free of charge. Learn More.
Be My Eyes is an app that connects visually impaired people with sighted volunteers who help via live video calls. Using the camera on their device, the volunteer will talk the caller thru moving the camera around so they can see what it is the caller needs help with. This is useful in checking expiration dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions, or knowing which can of soup is the chicken noodle. Be My Eyes is available in 180 languages and for Android and iOS. To download and use the app is free. However, Be My Eyes relies on volunteers with good vision to keep providing the service. Learn More.
If magnification with light is what you’re looking for, you might try Brighter and Bigger. This app uses your camera’s light and features adjustable magnification to help people who have trouble reading fine print or focusing on nearby objects due to presbyopia, eye illness, etc. It is available for Android and iOS and is free of charge. Interestingly, this app developer also has created a couple of apps to assist people who are color blind. Learn More.
If you enjoy and miss reading, many apps can read books to you.
Some of them charge for the books but most public libraries offer the ability to borrow audiobooks free of charge via an app. You would need to contact your local library to see which app they use but one popular one is Hoopla. You can borrow and stream titles instantly through your desktop computer or via a mobile app. If you use the mobile app, you can also download titles to your device for offline playback later if Wi-Fi isn’t available. Titles are automatically returned and removed from your device at the end of the lending period. Hoopla is available for Android and iOS (as well as several other devices such as Roku, FireTV, etc.) and is free of charge. Learn More.
Don’t forget to also use many of the Settings already included on smartphones and tablets.
Some of these are large fonts and high contrasts as well as VoiceOver and Siri for iOS or TalkBack and Google Assistant for Android users.
As artificial intelligence and virtual reality technology continue to be developed, we can expect to see many advances in applications. If you have any favorite apps that help you with your vision or eye medication needs, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org! Stay safe and well!