In a survey of mobile phone ownership, 99% of health professionals own a mobile phone, with 81% of these being a smartphone.1 The most popular smartphone currently being the Apple iPhone. Mobile phones and the internet have arguably been two of the most important developments in recent decades and the development of smartphones has combined these to allow many handheld capabilities beyond basic voice and text communication including advanced computing, digital photography, and geo-positioning.
Such devices are popular because of their high quality graphical user interfaces and intuitive control. The felt necessity by most adults to carry a mobile phone device with them at all times has meant that the increased capabilities of smartphones have come at no extra pocket space and in many cases for medical professionals has replaced the trusted handbook that once sat there.
Ophthalmologists are notorious for their interest in technology and gadgetry and so it comes as no surprise that the use of smartphones such as iPhones by ophthalmologists is wide spread.
For the purpose of this article we will look at the currently available applications and uses for an iPhone by an ophthalmologist (other platforms exist that provide the same or similar smartphone applications).
The potential functions of the ophthalmology related iPhone applications currently available can be divided into the following broad categories:
Patient assessment tools
Patient education/visual aids
Health care profession education and reference
Patient records/administrative tools and