In this issue of “MS Apps & Blogs” we are examining apps that deal with vision impairment, and tools to assist with it; plus tools to simulate vision issues and better understand them.


Help with macular degeneration or other eye issues associated with deterioration or damaged:


Amsler Grid App (Android) 

This app can help test and monitor vision changes related to macular degeneration or other distortion in your vision field resulting from damage to the macula (a spot in the back of the eye).

MaculaTester (Apple) 

If you’re using an Amsler grid to keep track of vision changes related to macular degeneration or other eye diseases, this interactive version goes a couple of steps further: It will record the areas of distortion that you see on the grid, so you can show them to your eye doctor. It also reminds you when it’s time to take the test.

VisionSim (Apple) 

The Braille Institute developed this app to let people with healthy vision see what the world looks like to someone with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts. It uses the camera in your device and applies special filters to the scene to simulate the symptoms of the disease.

Distinguishing between colors: People with different types of color vision deficiency perceive colors differently (think red-green colorblindness). The colors which can be recognized or distinguished by color deficient persons are different from color normal persons. Such conditions may occur from birth,  an illness, or chronic condition.


Chromatic Glass (Apple) is a color vision assistance tool for persons who have difficulty recognizing specific colors or perceiving differences between specific color pairs due to a color vision deficiency. 

This app helps users to recognize and distinguish such colors by making a special modified color image based on scientific methods in real-time and displaying it and the original image alternately.

Color Vision Test Pro (Apple) offers a color blindness test and colorblindness simulator. It offers optical illusions, computer generated images, and visualizations to train your eyes. It uses the phone’s camera to help determine colors under different settings.

Editor’s Note: NARCOMS does not endorse any of these programs as a medical tool or diagnostic device; if you are experiencing vision issues, please see your healthcare provider.

Need help with magnification or seeing what you are reading more clearly?  There are a number of apps designed to help magnify and provide light to what you are reading:



This magnifier app was designed by an ophthalmologist and includes the ability to light your reading material, such as a menu in a dim restaurant.




Magnifying Glass (Android)

Just launch the program and point your phone to the object you are viewing, and this will magnify it. The application has a light as well, which activates only if your phone or tablet has a flash. It can also freeze-frame what you’re viewing, so you don’t have to keep holding the device steady while you read.

Magnifying Glass With Light (Apple)

Much like the Magnifying Glass app for Android phones, this handy app for Apple devices is great for magnifying small font on menus, medicine bottles, receipts and more, and features an adjustable flashlight option.


If you have or are anticipating vision impairment beyond magnification issues or want to assist someone you know with this type of vision issue:


Be My Eyes (Apple)

This app can assist vision impaired people with important, everyday tasks like reading labels or receipts. You can choose to be a helper or sign up to be assisted if you are vision impaired.


Pocket Braille (Apple)

An app to learn Braille, including the alphabet, numbers, contractions and one- and two-cell word signs.

NantMobile Money Reader (Apple)

This app uses the iPhone’s camera to recognize currency, telling you the denomination in real time, without the need for an Internet connection. It helps make sure you’re paying the proper amount at the register and can also check that you receive the right amount of change. At last update the app supported 21 currencies. English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and several other languages are available for the voice-over feature.

Everyday eye health: Want to keep an “eye” on your vision? The free EyeXam app for smartphone or tablets lets you test your vision against the 20/20 benchmark and also includes tests for color perception, astigmatism and eye dominance. It is available for Android or Apple devices.


EyeXam for Android »

EyeXam for Apple devices »