Article Date: 12/1/2011

The Eye Exam of the Future
tech time

The Eye Exam of the Future

How healthcare technology will change the office visit … someday.

Scot Morris, O.D., F.A.A.O.

My gift to you this holiday season: an “out-of-the-box” column that takes you on a trip 50 years into the future of eyecare.

Imagine entering a healthcare center where a radio frequency identification device (RFID) automatically tells the office intelligence system the make and model of your spectacle frame. Facial feature identification cross references your profile with the RFID data and your purchase history to discern your frame-related buying trends.

You are greeted by a health consumer concierge who securely accesses your online healthcare data profile via a personal handheld device. The concierge reviews new data and the reason for your visit, which you discussed with your virtual healthcare data coordinator (think Health Siri) while you were at home last night.

A single vision station

The concierge escorts you to the “testing” area where a “functional vision station” assesses visual perception, visual function and analyzes both the subjective and objective visual aberrometry to determine your perfect visual solution. You move a simple joystick to “fine-tune” your visual solution based on your cerebral cortex's choosing. An instant later, a full wall display projects your possible frame choices on an image of your face — virtual reality in real time. When you make your selection, he station's sensors measure the facial parameters necessary to construct your individualized visual solution. An automated in-office system then selects the lens option and starts the manufacturing process using a wafer-thin diode lens that automatically changes refractive power based on where you look and ambient lighting conditions.

Meanwhile, you rest your chin in a “physical diagnostic device” that systematically measures your corneal topography, crystalline lens density, aqueous humor and tear film liquid chemistry, retinal interferometry, macular photo pigment density, optic nerve neurotransmittive properties and ocular blood flow patterns. An artificial intelligence system generates a report that identifies risk factors for an array of diseases as well as a list of suggested behavioral and nutritional modifications.

At this time, the concierge delivers your visual solutions to you and discusses surgical refractive corrective options, including customized corneal molding and cross-linking followed by a femtosecond derivative non-invasive ablation to reshape your anterior ocular surface. If your lens density is above a certain threshold, you are offered an intracrystalline phacolytic enzyme injection. You set an appointment for an intercrystalline lens material drainage and UV protecting viscoelastic injection, which is then phased to perfectly correct your visual aberrometry.

As you leave, you post your impression of this five-minute visit on the MATRIX (the new internet). But first, you suggest that friends meet at Astrobux for a chilled kale, EPA-enhanced, chai latte — yum!

Keeping your perspective

Before you throw your hands up in disgust or contempt, remember: These changes won't occur today, or probably even through the next decade. This is a conceptual look at the future based on my discussions with the great research minds in technology and eye care. Maybe someday our grandchildren will ask how we ever survived the archaic healthcare practices, which we call state-of-the-art today.

Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. OM


Optometric Management, Issue: December 2011