In an innovative leap forward in eye care, the Sheba Global Ophthalmology (SGO) initiative introduces the EyePhone® app, a groundbreaking tool designed to enhance adherence to treatment regimens for glaucoma and other chronic ocular diseases.
Chronic ocular conditions, especially glaucoma, pose a significant challenge in healthcare due to the subtle onset and progression of the disease. Glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible vision loss, often develops without noticeable symptoms, making regular and consistent treatment essential. However, adhering to eye drop regimens can be demanding, often leading to forgetfulness or unintentional neglect. This lack of adherence is a critical issue, as it is not easily identified and can significantly impact the effectiveness of treatment.
EyePhone®: A Technological Breakthrough in Glaucoma Management
Addressing this issue, Dr. Ari Leshno and Prof. Alon Skaat from the Sheba Global Ophthalmology (SGO) initiative have developed an innovative solution: the EyePhone® app. This app is specifically designed for glaucoma patients and those with other chronic ocular conditions requiring regular eye drops. It functions as a reminder tool, significantly improving adherence among patients. Furthermore, EyePhone® provides feedback on adherence, benefiting both patients and healthcare providers.
This initiative is particularly significant considering the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report that at least 2 billion people worldwide suffer from vision impairment, with nearly half of these cases being preventable or treatable. The majority of the visually impaired reside in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where access to eye care and financial resources for treatment are limited. This leads to a high prevalence of preventable eye and vision diseases.
SGO’s Commitment: Advancing Global Eye Health Equity
The SGO initiative, recognizing these disparities, focuses on advancing equity in eye care worldwide. SGO’s approach is multifaceted, encompassing humanitarian outreach and educational programs in LMICs, international advocacy, global collaborations in ophthalmology, and a strong emphasis on innovative research and technological advancements.
EyePhone® is set to play a pivotal role in a large prospective randomized controlled study in India, a collaboration between Aravind Eye Institute, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Sheba Medical Center. This study will further explore the app’s potential as a clinical endpoint, potentially revolutionizing the management of chronic ocular conditions in diverse settings.
In summary, the Sheba initiative, through the development of EyePhone®, represents a significant advancement in addressing the challenges of managing chronic ocular diseases. By improving adherence to treatment regimens, it offers hope for millions worldwide, especially in regions where access to eye care is limited. This innovation aligns with SGO’s commitment to reducing global inequalities in eye health, marking a notable milestone in the journey towards accessible and equitable eye care for all.