Earlier this year, a landmark report was published into the future of eye health. Called the Foresight Report, it was funded by the Central Optical Fund (the body which supports optometry projects), the Optical Confederation (the voice of the UK optical industry) and College of Optometrists, and predicted how technology could shape optometry over the next 15 years.

For example, the tech in our homes and in our pockets might play an increasing role in the way our eye health is diagnosed in the decades ahead. By 2030, patient-led sight tests could be conducted via a smartphone; while sophisticated app-based disease monitoring and ‘smart’ clinical contact lenses may do everything from measuring intraocular (eye) pressure to dispensing medicines.

 

Better outcomes

 

Improved tech would enable rapid objective testing to detect common eye diseases such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at an earlier stage, resulting in better treatment outcomes and the prevention of avoidable sight loss. 'Pre-diabetes’ eye tests may also be available.

We should expect major advances from a consumer's point of view, too. 'Virtual try-on' tech (allowing the patient to see how frames styles suit them without physically trying spectacles on) will revolutionise the purchasing of eyewear; and 3-D printing technologies could soon be used to manufacturer bespoke eyewear.

“Keeping pace with global developments in technology is key to helping practitioners and the wider optical industry provide the best and most efficient patient care,” says Roy Brackley, Secretary and Treasurer of the Central Optical Fund. “Technology will help us all see a better future.”