This study suggests that samrtphone and tablet apps based on Ishihara plates for detection of dyschromatopsia are efficient and reliable, particularly in optic neuritis patients.
Optic neuritis (ON) is a common and important cause of vision loss or vision disturbances in the community, particularly amongst the young, and it is often associated with a persistent dyschromatopsia. Traditionally screening for dyschromatopsia has been carried out using pseudo-isochromatic Ishihara plates. These colour plates were originally developed for testing of colour blindness, and indeed have only more recently been applied to ON. As the Ishihara plate books used for testing are expensive, unwieldy, and are not commonly available in many clinics or wards, many neurologists and ophthalmologists have taken to using untested and unstudied downloadable software packages on portable electronic devices for testing. This study compared the efficacy of printed and iPad (Apple, Cupertino, CA, USA) versions of the Ishihara plates in screening for dyschromatopsia in patients who were suspected of having ON. The main finding was that dyschromatopsia testing using a commercially available application on an iPad was comparable to using the current pragmatic clinical benchmark, the pseudo-isochromatic plates of Ishihara. These findings provide support for the increasingly common practice of screening for dyschromatopsia using the iPad.