Smart Technology in Eye Care

Smart technology is quickly affecting nearly every field of medicine and health care; one of those areas is in the field of ophthalmology. With advances in smart technology, there are improved tools and techniques available to screen and detect eye or vision problems earlier and with greater accuracy than ever before. Laser surgery is one well-known example of the use of smart technology in eye care and treatment. New diagnostic tools have the capability to allow a closer look into the eye and provide means to monitor pressure changes and other conditions that may be early indicators of health problems within the body as well as within the eye.

Ophthalmologists are able to detect health conditions such as diabetes, vascular disease, hypertension and some tumors within the brain by examining the retina and noting changes that occur due to these diseases. Smart technology allows the use of sensitive equipment to monitor slight changes and report differences earlier than ever before. A newly developed computerized system that screens for diabetic retinopathy uses Smart technology that allows primary care physicians to assess retinal changes that lead to blindness in diabetic patients. The ability to assess retinal changes without sending a patient to an eye care specialist controls medical costs, improves early screening compliance, and facilitates early referral and treatment if a change is detected.

For thousands of individuals unable to afford or access regular eye exams from an onsite ophthalmologist, it may soon be possible to check for refractive eye problems using your mobile phone camera. Refractive errors are the most common conditions requiring corrective eyeglasses for conditions such as near or far sightedness. Though currently in early field testing, smart technology allows a simple portable devise to be clipped onto your mobile phone and used to test for refractive errors as accurately as in office testing. Results are obtained within one to two minutes and prescriptions sent to your phone. This will lower cost of otherwise expensive in office testing and increase the number of individuals who are able to access early screening options.

Smart technology updating contact lenses and sunglasses makes surprising changes possible. Smart sunglasses use photosensitive features to detect glare that is common even with top-of-the-line UV polarized glasses. Smart sunglasses will be able to identify the areas of a lens that is exposed to high glare and darken only that area of the lens. Early testing reports after adjustments, glare is reduced by more than ten percent. Smart contact lenses are being developed to detect a variety of changes including blood glucose levels, to hypertension or pressure changes within the eye. Using smart technology, you may be able to use a medicated contact lens to dispense controlled medication for the time a contact is left in place. This would allow control over medications that is not possible when using traditional eye drops. 

For further information concerning smart technology in eye care, check out the following links:

  • Smart Contacts Aid in Diagnostic Assessments–Smart Technology is allowing a look into the eye to detect pressure changes that can lead to blindness and may soon be adapted to record changes that signal other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even tumors. Continued research will expand Smart technology now used in contact lenses such as the Triggerfish to diagnose a host of other conditions.
  • Eye on the Future – This article highlights the introduction of a computerized system to screen for diabetic retinopathy. This newly designed program uses Smart technology. The TRIAD system (Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis), gives primary care physicians the tools to provide eye assessment to diabetic patients instead of referring them to a specialist for primary early screenings.
  • Refractive Tests via a Mobile Phone - The development of a small portable devise that clips onto a cell phone may soon make it possible to provide testing for diagnosing refractive errors in eyesight requiring correction. Preliminary studies show the mobile devise show promise that this simple devise is comparable to test done in office on expensive machines.
  • Smart Sunglasses – If you have ever paid $300 for an expensive pair of UV solar glasses only to be blinded by glare, you may be happy knowing sunglasses are getting smart. Smart sunglasses will have the ability to darken the areas on a lens that is experiencing direct glare. According to early testing, the new smart sunglasses will reduce direct glare from 10-100%. Smart glasses are not yet available to the public.
  • Eye Drops May be History – Dispensing eye medications in drop form is not always precise. You no doubt have experienced the frustration of trying to get eye drops into the eye and count the number of prescribed drops for each dosage. Smart contact lens may be used to deliver a measured dose of medication over the time the contact is left in place.

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