Digital Tools for the Self-Assessment of Visual Acuity: A Systematic Review

Ophthalmol Ther. 2021 Jun 25. doi: 10.1007/s40123-021-00360-3. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Numerous digital tools to self-assess visual acuity have been introduced. The recent COVID-19 pandemic underlined the need for high-quality remote care. This review gives a current overview of digital tools for remotely assessing visual function and reports on their accuracy.

METHODS: We searched the databases of Embase and Pubmed, and systematically reviewed the literature, conforming to PRISMA guidelines. Two preliminary papers were added from The main outcome was the agreement of the digital tools with conventional clinical charts, as expressed by mean differences and 95% limits of agreement (95% LoA).

RESULTS: Seventeen publications included studies reported on 13 different digital tools. Most of the tools focus on distance visual acuity. The mean differences of the digital tools ranged from – 0.08 to 0.10 logMAR, when compared to traditional clinical assessments. The 95% LoA differed considerably between studies: from ± 0.08 logMAR to ± 0.47 logMAR, though the variability was less pronounced for higher visual acuities.

CONCLUSION: The low mean differences between digital visual acuity assessments and reference charts suggest clinical equivalence, though the wide 95% LoA identify a lower precision of digital self-assessments. This effect diminishes in individuals with better visual acuities, which is a common feature of visual acuity assessments. There is great potential for the digital tools to increase access to eye care and we expect the accuracy of the current tools to improve with every iteration in technology development.

PMID:34169468 | DOI:10.1007/s40123-021-00360-3