To those outside the world of optometry, talking about astigmatism, hyperopia, and refraction may seem like a foreign language. But part of an optometrist’s job is to communicate complex concepts to patients. While this can be a daunting task in English, imagine the added challenge of conducting an eye exam with non-English speaking patients. Many offices use professional medical interpreters and translating services. Dmitriy Richter, Class of 2019, decided to develop a tool to assist as well. Working with classmates at NECO, New England College of Optometry, he developed a newly released mobile app called OpTranslate.
“We developed OpTranslate to give optometrists and students the tools to become a multi-lingual eye care provider,” explains Richter. “We know that foreign languages can be daunting and challenging for many. But we truly believe that anyone who's been accepted to an optometry school, completed their degree, and/or works as a practicing doctor has the ability to successfully connect with patients in their native language.”
While not intended to replace professional medical interpreters and translating services, OpTranslate does seek to provide language translation tools to help optometrists better conduct eye exams on non-English speaking patients. It features the full, comprehensive eye exam split into six sections, available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole languages. OpTranslate also features additional sections for contact lens exams, binocular vision testing, and pre-written diagnoses.
While OpTranslate can be used directly in the exam room to provide patient education resources, Richter also hopes providers will use the app as a tool to improve their own language abilities between exams. Richter notes, “We want to educate the patient, and we want to educate the doctor. While the app can certainly be used as an in-clinic phrasebook, our goal is help providers become more competent on their own with practice outside of clinic hours. We provide several resources for this mission, including intuitively-organized exam sections, offline capability, and language practice quizzes.”
Richter began working on the mobile app in October 2016 and was released this week onto the Google Play (Android) and Apple (iOS) app stores for phones and tablets. The original release features four languages with Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Korean, and Vietnamese updates in development. NECO students Eva Ho, OD ‘19, served as the graphic designer and Victoria Gagnon, OD ’19, provided French translations for the mobile app. NECO alumnus Dr. Jason Chin helped develop the contact lens section of the app.
Learn more about OpTranslate mobile app:
Apple iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/optranslate/id1262769283?ls=1&mt=8
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/optranslate