The hottest tech trends for vision and eye care in 2017

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Visual Technology | No Comments

2016 may have been a year of unprecedented change and unexpected outcomes with well-loved celebrities suddenly dying, seismic shifts in politics and global instability but in the world of technology and eye care there have been some amazing breakthroughs. You will begin to see these revolutionary developments reaching you in 2017. They have the potential to ensure that your eyes will be healthier, with diseases being able to be detected and therefore treated earlier. As a result of this new technology and capability, your visual skills have the potential to become more efficient, allowing you to work more quickly and effectively. Best of all, with the proliferation, availability and falling cost of technology, access to these services will become more affordable too.

 

As a Behavioural Optometrist and Co-Founder of a visual start-up, I’ve been closely involved in the vision technology scene and the trends that have been developing over the past few years. In this article, I will share my predictions for the top 5 new technologies that have the potential to improve your eyes and vision in 2017. The biggest driving forces in visual technologies are intimately linked to wider innovation and acceleration in several areas of science.

In particular, the rapidly escalating computing power available in mobile devices has allowed miniaturisation and portability. Combining this with the powerful digital image and audio capture available on such connected devices has the potential to deliver many eye related services via mobile technology.

Examination techniques are being revolutionised by smaller devices which will slowly replace the huge, cumbersome equipment used currently. Advances in sensor technology allow us to detect and analyse more detail of physical function with a greater level of accuracy and depth than ever before. Virtual Reality (VR) has taken huge leaps forward over the past few years in creating new immersive experiences and ways to interact with computer generated worlds. By controlling the visual experience, it is now possible to train visual skills and ability using VR. And finally the most prevailing glimpse into the future is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse the vast amount of digital data in aiding us in making early diagnoses, connections with other processes and a deeper understanding of the health and complexity of the visual system. This includes accurate predictive analysis and the ability to prevent and correct eye problems before they arise.

 

So, here are my predictions on the top 5 new vision related technologies to watch out for in 2017:

 

  1. Smart Phone Diagnostics

Peek vision are ready to distribute their revolutionary new device that will allow anyone to take a picture of the retina using a smart phone. They’ve already had huge success testing the device in the third world in order to bring cheap and portable digital eye examinations to those in remote locations. Having personally spoken with some of the team at Peak Vision, I can see their passion for making a difference to the world by bringing sight-saving technology to all and revolutionising how eye care can be delivered. http://www.peekvision.org/

 

  1. Portable and Hand Held Examinations

Ibis Vision: Our peripheral vision (field of vision) is essential for orientation and to help us avoid obstacles yet in a disease called glaucoma, we could lose up to 40% of this peripheral vision without even knowing. This part of our vision is currently examined using a large machine to test the visual field, some practices and hospitals have a room dedicated purely for this type of examination. Ibis vision are beginning large scale testing of a simple to use, portable device that is just accurate as conventional methods. I was excited to meet the team because they are committed to revolutionising a test that could detect glaucoma, a disease nicknamed “the silent killer of sight.” http://ibisvision.co.uk/

 

  1. Biometric Sensors

Okimo: By analysing the eye movements a child makes while reading sample texts, Okimo has been able to detect specific patterns of movements that indicate several causes of reading difficulties from poor eye muscle control to a difficulty in understanding words. About 10 to 20% of all children struggle to read as a result of poor eye movements, even though they may be able to see clearly. Okimo provides early detection and intervention to ensure children are given the best chance to learn to read and therefore able to access knowledge and education. As the chief optometric officer and co-founder of Okimo, I am excited to bring this new technology to help diagnose and offer treatments to help improve reading and visual performance in children and adults. Along with co-founder Gabriela Galilea (recognised by MIT tech review as one of the top innovators under 35) we want to make a long-lasting impact to literacy skills around the world. http://okimo.co/

 

 

  1. Virtual Reality (VR)

Vivid Vision: Bringing VR to vision training and therapy Vivid Vision was created using the Oculus Rift by founder and programmer James Blaha to correct the visual impairment in his own sight. After successfully treating his own amblyopia (lazy eye) and squint, he proceeded to further develop the system with support from doctors and specialists and now offers the service to many practices with great results. When I met James I was impressed at his application of new technology to solve his own difficulty. This technology has the potential to help the millions worldwide who suffer from amblyopia. https://www.seevividly.com/

 

  1. Artifical Intelligence

Google/Deepmind: The Goliath of innovation, Google, in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital, is applying it’s highly advanced AI arm, Deepmind, to the task of analysing 1 million digital eye scans in order to offer computer assisted diagnosis and early detection of eye diseases to help save the sight of millions. Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw from Moorfields has been working closely the team from Deepmind to help prevent blindness, which is expected to double over the next 30 years. http://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/news/moorfields-announces-research-partnership

 

There has never been a more exciting time for development in technology to help a wide range of eye related conditions and provide an increasing range of eye care services in new and innovative ways. Whilst numerous articles and developments suggest that many jobs will be replaced by robots in the not too distant future, people will still need to rely on their sight and strongly linked information processing capability. It is only fitting that we should leverage the technology of today and the future to give ourselves the best possible eye care and visual performance.

 

About the author:

Bhavin Shah, Behavioural Optometrist, BSc Optom (hons), MCOptom.

Co-Founder of Okimo

www.okimo.co

For more info & interviews about this article or eyecare & vision contact Bhavin Shah on:

020 8343 1122 or bhavin@okimo.co

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