Prescription lenses critical to functionality of wearable technology
LAS VEGAS – It is predicted that by 2017, 60% of all wearable technology will be made up by smart watches and smart glasses, and optometrists will play a crucial role, according to a speaker here at Vision Expo West.
Brad Main, FNAO, training and education manager for Rochester Optical, told attendees at a continuing education presentation that with all the functionality that a heads-up display, or HUD, provides, the need for prescription lenses in the two-thirds of the U.S. population that needs vision correction is critical.
“Without corrective lenses for these devices, many users cannot fully experience their functionality,” he said.
Main explained that wearable technology is clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronics that aim to improve and enhance a user’s quality of life.
“It leverages the digital world by enhancing a person’s behaviors, actions and experiences in the real world and improves productivity and workplace efficiency,” he said.
Nearly 90% of the current wearable technologies are in the fitness category, but smart watches and smart glasses are predicted to make up 60% of the market by 2017, according to Main. The number of smart glasses on the market has doubled just since January.
“The projection is that 8 to 10 years from now our smart phone will be replaced with another technology,” he said. “It’s going to be a smart phone in a pair of glasses.”
The technology may be controlled by voice commands, from a touch pad or by a wink of the eye.
Main said Rochester Optical uses freeform design and digital surfacing to address the challenges of viewing through a HUD. He said the spectacles are suitable for everyday wear and have a short adjustment period.
“Find out in your community what industry, enterprise and businesses are starting to employ this technology and position yourself as the eye care expert who can fill a prescription for this product,” Main said. “Make this technology visible. Position yourself as an expert in the area. Know the products out there. Wear it yourself. Do a demonstration. Be an early adopter. Just because it doesn’t look ophthalmic now doesn’t mean that’s how it will be 3 years from now.”