Industry experts predict effects of disruptive technology
LAS VEGAS – “Digital is very disruptive,” Richard Clompus, OD, FAAO, told attendees at an emerging technology panel discussion here at Vision Expo West. “When it begins, it’s not great, but it’s good enough.
“IPhone was introduced in 2007. Calls got dropped, it had a lousy camera,” he continued. “It wasn’t that good of a technology, but look what happened.”
He listed a number of technologies considered to be disruptive: Warby Parker Home Try-On, CVS pharmacy and Watson’s artificial intelligence, EyeNetra, SVOne by Smart Vision Labs.
“Pogotec is coming out with a line of frames that will permit you to attach electronic devices to them,” Clompus said. “Small sensors can be placed on the body and connected to the Internet to provide information and help control our health. It’s centered around vision, hearing and voice.”
He listed challenges to such technology: cost, aesthetics and choice.
“Pogotec uses a flat core wire so you can attach an electronic device to the temple,” Clompus said. “If there’s no device attached, it looks like a regular frame.”
With PogoCam, which Clompus expects to be available in 2017, wearers will be able to take pictures and videos by touching the temple of the frame.
“We could sell a tiny UV meter with every pair of sunglasses that you could program on your smart phone to look at your family history and your skin type, and you can wear it and be alerted to when you’re about to begin to burn,” he said.
Another option is a sensor to alert you if you begin to fall asleep while driving.
“Get used to having disruptive technology, but also know that this technology will help support your business and your growth and will add to your ability to survive in a digital age,” Clompus said.
“Not to get into the area of wearable technology makes no sense,” panelist Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO, said. “Most wearable devices are in the health care lifestyle field.
“More people in the world have phones than glasses,” he continued. “A trillion photos are taken each year.”
Wearable technology has the potential to provide snooze alerts, reminders to blink during computer use and instant photos of your children, he said.
Other disruptive technologies include Enchroma spectacle lenses for color enhancement, the Vmax Perfectus for precise refractions, eye drops that restore accommodation, the Calhoun Light Adjustable Lens for cataract surgery, the AcuFocus Kamra inlay for the surgical treatment of presbyopia and NeuroLens by eyeBrain Medical for digital vision syndrome.
MyVisionPod is developing a remote refracting system designed for use in drug stores, health clinics and school environments, panel member Hal Wilson, president of MyVisionPod, told attendees. The pods will contain an autorefractor and phoropter that are operated by a technician remotely. An off-site doctor reviews the results of the refraction and history and writes a prescription for eyeglasses.
“We are built on the premise that consumers are looking for a more convenient solution,” Wilson said.
He noted that consumers can perform their own blood pressure readings and obtain pregnancy test kits.
“We think it’s a great screening tool,” he said. “You can’t force someone to get an eye exam.”
While a few in the audience criticized the implementation of such technology, some support exists.
“We all know the problem of bad vision screenings kids receive in school,” an audience member said. “It picks up myopia, but not hyperopia. I’ve seen kids drop out of school because no one knows they are hyperopic. Parents are deceived by poor visual acuity tests given in our schools. I congratulate Hal Wilson. We need more refractors out there.”
Pia Taveras, a product engineer with ClearVision Optical, explained how 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing and product design.
“This will eventually rival what a traditional manufacturing line does today,” she said. “The possibilities are endless. Consumers want higher quality at a lower price, and manufacturing is getting more expensive.”
This new technology will enable factories to work on their own with minimal human interaction, thereby reducing cost and increasing efficiency, Taveras said.
Frames will be customized for each wearer’s face, with limitless color choices and eco-friendly products, she said.
“Manufacturers are taking advantage of it right now,” Taveras said. “We are designing really cool products with this technology. We’ll reconstruct eye wear. We may eliminate hinges.”
Taveras expects such technology to be widely available in 5 years. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
DeGennaro E, et al. The future in focus: Eye care technology that’s emerging. Presented at: Vision Expo West; Las Vegas; Sept. 14-17.
Clompus founded Clompus Consulting Group and consults for Pogotec. Karpecki receives consulting fees from AcuFocus, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Anthem, AMO, Alcon Labs, Allergan, Akorn, Bausch + Lomb/Valeant, BioTissue, Bruder Healthcare, Cambium Pharmaceuticals, Eyemaginations, Essilor, Eyes4Lives, Eye Solutions, Focus Laboratories, iCare USA, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, OcuSoft, Freedom Meditech, Konan Medical, MacuLogix, Beaver-Visitech, Ocular Therapeutix, Reichert, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron, RySurg, Science Based Health, SightRisk, TearLab, TearScience, TLC Vision, Topcon and Vmax. He is on the speakers’ bureau for Glaukos and Oculus; has conducted research for Akorn, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Eleven Biotherapeutics, Fera Pharmaceuticals, Rigel Pharma and Shire; and has an ownership interest in Bruder HealthCare and TearLab. Taveras is employed by ClearVision Optical. Wilson is employed by MyVisionPod.