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New iPad app for measuring vision loss in Parkinson’s patients

A research team at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona has developed a new iPad application that can screen for visual contrast loss in Parkinson’s patients.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease may experience a number of eye problems either as a symptom of the disease itself or as a side effect of medication. These problems include blurred vision, dry eyes, involuntary closure of the eyelids (blepharospasms) and loss of contrast and colour sensitivity.

Because patients with Parkinson’s disease often have normal high-contrast vision, a reduction in low-contrast visual acuity is often missed by routine eye exams. An iPad version of a variable-contrast acuity chart was shown to the patients at close (40 cm) and far (2 m) distances. Parkinson’s patients had significantly worse vision for the low-contrast images at both distances than control subjects.

The degree of a patient’s low-contrast visual deficiency correlates to the severity of Parkinson’s disease, which suggests that these visual tests could serve as a method for diagnosing Parkinson’s and measuring the effectiveness of treatments.

Further information: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=150140&CultureCode=en

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