Best optom apps for 2020

Is your mobile phone within reach? Chances are you use your smartphone dozens of times a day in your practice. Rather than having to spend time searching online, or dig out a textbook, apps can be a gamechanger. The right app at the right moment can help you find answers in a flash. 

Here are eight of my favourite apps for the eyecare professional to download in 2020: 


Eye Gifs 

I use the Sight Selector app every day in my practice. It’s my go-to for almost every optometry topic. My most common searches are cataracts, blepharitis (which includes meibomian gland illustration) and the spectacle multifocal lens diagram. 

Unfortunately, Sight Selector changed from outright purchase to subscription only, so there is no longer an a-la-carte option. Subscription to all topics is expensivearound NZD$950 per year.  

However, I recently found aapp called Eye Gifs, at only $15/month. The posterior eye topics are strong, including floaters, retinal detachment and cataracts. Anterior eye topics are also available to browse. You can use this on your desktop, smartphone and tablet.  

Cost: $15 monthly subscription  

Available: AndroidiOS and Windows Store 


Epocrates by Epocrates 
Want to quickly find a drug name or dosage? How many zeroes were there after the decimal point for latanoprost concentration? Epocrates helps you with a great search facility for generic and brand name drugs. You can easily find contraindications, mechanisms and use in pregnancy.  

Cost: Free 
Available: Android and iOS 


Which contact lenses come in a -2.75-dioptre cylinder? Which lenses have a larger diameter? Eyedock has an up-to-date database of contact lens parameters. You can enter a patient’s subjective refraction and see suggested lensesThe app also has an ophthalmic medication database and calculators for contact lens fittings. 

Cost: $75 approximate annual subscription 
Available: iOS and includes a desktop version 


9 Gaze  

Can’t remember which direction your strabismus patient was directed to look in the photo? With this app, you can easily see where the patient was asked to look. The second problem this app solves is that you can create a collage of nine photos at once. 

Cost: Free 




PracticeUpdate allows you to stay abreast of expert commentary on quality, highly useful journal articles for optometrists, whatever your clinical interests. An easy way to quickly get up-to-speed on recent articles and advancements. 

Cost: Free 

Available: oniOSandAndroid 


Parks Three Step 

Vertical muscle deviations aren’t common, I certainly don’t do them every day, so the Parks Three Step app is a good reminder. 

It uses the iPhone’s accelerometer by just turning the phone in the direction the eye is turning. It’s a quick guide to how these muscle patterns fit together and helps confirm your notes if your brain is a bit foggy. 

Cost: $3.99 



Chromatic Vision Simulator by Kazunori Asada 

When you explain a colour vision deficiency to a parent, they often try to imagine the colours their child actually sees. You might have a photography test images on file, but it’s hard to picture this in the real world.  
Chromatic Vision Simulator (CV Simulator) allows you to ‘see’ colour vision defectiveness in real time and add filters to simulate protanopia, deuteranopia and tritanopia dynamically as you move your phone around. You can also take screenshots and send them to parents. They’ll be amazed to get a glimpse at how their child sees colour! 

Cost: Free 
Available: Android and iOS 


Opticalc contact lens calculator 

Opticalc lets you type in spectacle script and get the ocular refraction. You can also look at toric lens over-refractions. The app was made by Australian optometrist Rob McQualterIt can take some time to find out which calculator app you personally prefer, but this is my favourite right now; everything you need is there. 

Cost: $6.99 




This is essentially a digital hand-held magnifier on your mobile, which is convenient for patients. Even with modern smartphones and multiple camera lenses, this app is useful.  

I love demonstrating this app to low vision patients, to show them the effect of electronic magnification and improved lighting. If they have an iPhone, I’ll send them a link to the app store. If not, I’ll refer them to Vision Australia or Low Vision Orthoptist for dedicated electronic magnifier options. 

Cost: $6.99 



Leigh Plowman is an optometrist and optometry marketing specialist who is passionate about helping independent optometrists create online strategies and getting more patients online.  




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