FDA Approves Macular Degeneration App

If you are at risk for retina-related eye problems, you probably see your eye doctor at least once or twice a year. Now you can have your doctor monitor your vision twice a week, and from the comfort of home. An app that allows this has just received FDA approval.

The new app is called mVT, which stands for myVisionTrack. It allows people who have diabetes or a family history of macular degeneration to easily monitor their vision. The app displays a series of four circular ‘Gaussian’ patterns and requires that you tap the screen on the one that is not truly circular. It can be used with both wet and dry age-related macular degeneration. http://www.myvisiontrack.com/mvt

To get the mVT app, you need to first see your eye doctor. Mike Bartlett, President of Vital Art and Science LLC, the company that produces mVT, says that since the app is considered a medical device, “the FDA specified that our test should only be supplied “by prescription” from a licensed eye care professional, which means from ophthalmologist or an optometrist. “

From Vital Art and Science website

Test results are uploaded to the doctor’s portal which can also be programmed to send the alerts by e-mail or text of any significant changes in vision. The office staff then contacts you to set up an appointment to review the test results and suggest treatment.

On approval of the mVT App, the FDA stipulated that people could not receive the results directly. Bartlett said, “They were afraid that patients might use home test results to decide that they don’t need to go back for their scheduled appointment, and by supplying the results only to the doctor they would keep this from happening.” This FDA requirement is apparently common with newly approved medical devices and is expected to be eliminated in time. People with diabetes monitor their glucose and those with hypertension use blood pressure devices at home, but they still visit their doctors.

The mVT app is convenient to use and provides easier long term vision monitoring but is not a substitute for the traditional Amsler Grid. If you are at risk of retinal issues, you should regularly be using the Amsler Grid to check your vision. But instead of looking at what looks like a graph on a piece of paper that you often forget at home, now these grids can always be viewed on the screens of all smartphones.

– Jack Klausner

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