Home monitoring for patients with AMD

Posted: Wednesday 03 April 2024
Elderly woman with eye patch smiling on phone

The Macular Society has been collaborating in a flagship Innovate UK project, with Nottingham and Oxford University hospitals, and with early-stage technology company OKKO Health, to develop an algorithm for the early detection of visual deterioration between appointments for patients with aged-related macular degeneration (AMD).

OKKO Health has developed an app to help people monitor their sight between clinic visits using simple puzzle games played three times weekly. By combining data from clinic and home, the new algorithm project hopes to empower patients with AMD and improve the overall management of their condition, by using a simple app on their smartphone.

The results so far

Since starting in February 2023, more than 350 participants have been regularly using the app at home, with help from their doctors and OKKO Health staff. By playing games on the app regularly, they are sharing important information that will help with the research.

Early results indicate that the vision measurements contributed at home on the OKKO app are indeed following patterns of visual changes confirmed at hospital appointments.  Volunteers are providing feedback on usability of the app and how it should be improved, and what new features should be added.

One participant said: "Participating in this study is a win win. I am helping to develop a tool that hopefully will aid AMD management in the future, whilst I am feeling more involved and empowered in managing my treatment and eye health." 

Professor Alex Foss, one of the principal investigators in the study, at the University of Nottingham said: “The NHS has a 25% shortage of specialist eye doctors, leading to significant waiting lists and backlogs. We’re excited to see that smartphone apps have the potential to measure standard metrics of visual function, which can be done outside the clinic.”

How the data will be used

OKKO will use this information to develop tools which aim to identify sight problems at the earliest possible opportunity. This will enable patients to be seen and treated in a timely manner, and also empowering patients who live with AMD to access high-quality and relevant information about living with their eye disease

Professor Susan Downes, principal investigator at the University of Oxford, added: “It is exciting to be involved in an innovative project which not only explores the potential of this app to monitor vision, but also to develop a resource for patients to access relevant information about their eye condition.”

Get involved

If you would like to play the app, OKKO are always accepting volunteers to join their user tester group. If you are based in the UK or EU and this is something you would be interested in, then email support@okkohealth.com for more information.

The first recruited study participant at Oxford Hospital , together with research practitioners

Woman writing on clipboard

Other ways to get involved in research link arrow

We are regularly asked to advertise opportunities for people to take part in research on what it is like to be living with macular disease and the impact it can have on friends and family. This can involve anything from completing short surveys to taking part in focus groups or interviews.