We have reached a point where the eye care business is flooded with smart and affordable technical developments. Your customers or patients will have access to tools that helps them to detect eye problems at home. What impact will this have on your work? Will it help or hinder?
Let us start with an example. Personal Vision Tracker is vision screening tool from EyeQue. It measures refractive error with an miniscope attached to your smart phone where you have an app (myEyeQue) installed. The app can be downloaded from Apple App Store or Google Play. It is connected to the cloud which allows the user to store, analyze, and share the results if needed. Studies have shown that the measurements are close to those from professional equipment. There are other similar products available on the market as well. EyeNetra and SVOne from Smart Vision are two examples.
Starting at USD 30 these products are affordable for smart phone owners. And, remember this is the price at introduction. We can assume that price will be lower once the market takes off.
What will be the consequences for eye professionals? Well, EyeQue states that you can “use the results to order new glasses from online retailers”. Of course, this will happen. Some customers will use the tool and order glasses online. Do-It-Yourself eyecare. It is a risk but there is a paradox hidden in this. Some side effects on a wrong prescription might be hidden to the consumer as they could think of another root cause of their astenopic complaints such as neck or back pain.Those equipments can offer a very rough estimation on the basic visual deficiencies but can be far from what is needed on several cases.
One suggestion for you as a professional could be to embrace the disruptive technology and innovations entering the market place. In the case of Personal Vision Tracker above you could recommend it to your customers and sell the tool. Your argument would be that is a good indicator of eyesight changes and it will help the customer to get the proper prescription glasses at the right time. If you combine this with a customer retention plan you will have data in the cloud from in between visits to discuss with your customer.
Miniaturization of electronics means that advanced technology will be embedded in wearables like glasses, bracelets, clothes, bags, and shoes. Augmented reality in glasses has not yet been a success due to size but we are getting there. Sunglasses with dynamic tinting control are available, either automatic or manually controlled by your smartphone. 3D-printed glasses that are individualized and unique are already available in the market. In all, your practice could become the coolest gadget store ever. Not only for fun, but for your customer’s best.