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Wearable technology in future for glaucoma patients

SAN FRANCISCO — Wearable technology will empower glaucoma patients as telemedicine opportunities are advanced, according to Louis R. Pasquale, MD, director of the Teleretinal Program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston.

“I think it’s very wise to consider telemedicine as part of the ‘catalyst for a cure,’” Pasquale said in a presentation at the Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum. “What telemedicine is doing is converting medicine from a somewhat paternalistic organization to one that’s going to be patient intolerant. This is going to happen because patients will have access to inexpensive wearable technology — iPhone and smartphone technology — that will allow them to apply their data — high-quality data — and actually analyze it on their own terms and bring it back to the doctors.”

Louis R. Pasquale

Louis R. Pasquale

Among the possibilities for the “glaucoma clinic of the future” are hand-held devices for patients to check their own IOP and to self-image their own optic discs.

“The day is coming when people will be able to take pictures of their own optic nerves,” Pasquale said.

Reliable self-measurement of visual fields is likely using mobile devices and software applications, but “what is going to be an iteration perhaps better than that is virtual reality visual fields,” Pasquale said.

In this scenario, a smartphone is plugged into HIPAA-compliant Bluetooth-enabled goggles and runs visual field perimetry software, with resultant data transferred to a data repository.

Further potential lies in development of the data gathered this way, using the visual fields data and computer artificial intelligence to follow a patient’s glaucomatous progression.

Pasquale envisions a glaucoma clinic of the future in which patients check their own IOP “any time of the day or night. They’ll be doing their own visual fields, and they may even be imaging their own discs. ... And we’ll have the patients who really have problems that need to be seen in our care.” – by Patricia Nale, ELS



Pasquale LR. New horizons in telemedicine. Presented at: Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum; Feb. 3, 2017; San Francisco.

Disclosure: Pasquale reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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