Technology made its way into every aspect of modern life, and the medical field is not an exception, especially vision care. New technological advances changed traditional vision care practices to become faster, more comfortable, and more precise.
Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, and opticians benefit more from digital solutions than ever; they can prescribe medications, examine patients, and diagnose eyes with the help of modern tools. Moreover, the digital technology effects didn’t stop at eye doctors but also affected patients; the patient journey developed to become more accessible, convenient, and time-saving. This article explains how digital technology has changed vision care and compares the past with the present in that regard.
Getting a prescription
Visiting an eye doctor includes examining the eyes to measure refractive issues, which might result in getting a glasses prescription. With the digital advances, the eye exam itself has shifted from the traditional manual phoropter to a more accurate digital exam.
Then: Manual Phoropter
Eye doctors perform the “Refraction Test” during the manual exam using a “Phoropter” tool. Most people won’t recognize the name, but how about the multiple-lenses instrument placed in front of the eye, does that ring a bell?
Typically the patient looks through the phoropter at an eye chart; the eye doctor changes the lenses manually and asks for feedback to check how accurate the patient’s vision is until finally reaching the optimal lens for the glasses prescription.
Now: Digital eye exams
With the help of advanced technology, the patient will now sit down and stare at a specific point. The eye doctor will carry on, as all the adjustments are controlled from one digital panel. The doctor won’t be required to move around, instead will stay in one place and focus on speaking directly to the patient.
When the right combination is selected, the prescription is automatically generated. Also, all data is automatically synched and added to the patient’s digital file, completely eliminating multiple entries.
Trying on new glasses
Getting the right glasses prescription is halfway to improving vision. Now it’s time to find perfect glasses, go through the “trying-on” process, and get confused about what to select. However, technology is here to help!
Then: Awkwardly stared in a mirror at the frame store
In usual cases, you have to visit multiple mortar and brick stores, one by one, in a long shopping journey looking for the ultimate glasses. The process is repeated in every shop you stop by, asking for glasses, showing the prescription, surveying the available frames, and trying them in front of a mirror while many people are coming in and out and some are staring. Unfortunately, it might last hours before the final decision is made, which consumes time and effort.
Now: New way: Digital try-on technology
Nowadays, online shopping has become a vast industry; everything can be bought online, from groceries to real estate, and fortunately, it includes glasses. Digital technology introduced the “virtual try-on tools” that allow you to try anything virtually from where you are, at home, at work, or on the street.
It has made it easy to check as many frames and styles as possible and buy glasses online without leaving your spot! It only needs any smart device with a camera, such as a mobile phone, to submit a photo or video of your face, and the software will digitally position frames over it in real-time.
The new technology saves time and effort as it allows trying hundreds of possible frames and taking pictures to have some second opinion before buying; with the new technology finding the perfect glasses that reflect your style and personality hasn’t been easier.
Measuring for glasses
Having fit and stylish glasses requires getting the right size glasses for your face. It includes measuring lens width and height, the bridge width, and the frame width. While the measurements have been done manually for a long time, now they’re done digitally more accurately.
Then: Hand-held measuring tools
Opticitions have used manual instruments such as rulers to get the required measurement for the new glasses, which require excellent expertise to achieve precision. However, no matter how much they try, there are many limitations, such as ruler accuracy, how much the patient is sitting still, and how much steady the optician’s hands are. Therefore, this inaccuracy due to a couple of millimeters here and there will cause inconsistent results with different opticians.
Now: Digital measurement
Digital measuring devices have provided a new level of accuracy and precision. They consider the patient movement, correction factor, and other manual measurement errors. They can be in the form of stand-still devices or mobile apps; both serve the purpose of getting precise measurements.
Diagnosing vision problems
When having a vision problem, it’s time to visit an ophthalmologist. They will perform eye exams to discover it; dilation is one of the basic procedures, which has improved from using that annoying eye drop to a more comfortable digital procedure.
Then: Ophthalmoscope and dilation only
Dilation has been, for many years, the standard practice when visiting an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Dilation drops widen the pupil, giving the eye doctor a better look at the eye structure and helping diagnose any issues.
The ophthalmologist will spend 10-15 minutes evaluating the eyes with a bright light and magnifying tool. However, the procedure will cause vision blur for around 5-6 hours, so the patient requires some help after the examination.
Now: New way: Retinal photography
Retinal photography is an advanced technology that relieves the patient of the dilation hassle. Instead of examining the eye, the device takes images for the ophthalmologist to examine digitally. The procedure is very fast as it only takes seconds and is painless. Also, the device creates a digital file that can be used for future follow-ups.
Technology is changing the face of every field of life, and vision care is one of the majorly affected fields. The new technology provides an advanced solution for delicate organs such as the eyes, facilitating the work of specialists. Eye doctors now can have better discussions and give more accurate glasses prescriptions, and all the procedure results are automatically saved to the patient’s digital file for future reference.