Technology drives much of clinical practice today. The incredible advancement of processor chips, memory storage, lasers, micro-motors, and software has created an avalanche of diagnostic instruments that we could only dream of 10 years ago. As advanced as automated visual ï¬eld instruments have become, it took almost two decades for this technology to mature to its current form. In comparison, advanced OCT instruments seemed to have catapulted almost overnight into the “must-have technology” category for practices. Way back in 2011 at a panel discussion during the British Contact Lens Association meeting in Manchester, UK, Nick Rumney, MScOptom, said, “I don’t think I could practice without an OCT.” My colleagues in the U.S. feel exactly the same about OCT instruments.
In addition to advances in treating ocular disease, new technology has also profoundly impacted refraction and the optical dispensing component of most practices. From newly introduced computerized vision testing systems, to programmable remote-controlled phoropters, to eyewear measurement systems with high levels of accuracy, technology provides opportunities to improve eyecare and eyewear in practices.
Technology can pose challenges as well. For some practitioners, using a pen is far quicker than using two index fingers to slowly type patient data into a device, as many simply are not good typists. Watching a skilled physician struggle inputting data into an EHR system can be painful to observe.
As Millennials begin to outspend Baby Boomers, an increasing number of clinicians are beginning to embrace their own branded online stores to sell eyewear and contact lenses to their patients.
Offering improved compliance and convenience to patients will help drive practice growth over the next decade, and these products will be reviewed and discussed in upcoming issues of this magazine.
The goal of Optometric Ofï¬ce is to highlight products and their applications for optometry. As the professional editor, I will bring you interesting and timely articles written by outstanding clinicians who will inform you of new products and technology. Each article will not only provide details you need to understand each product but also how the author has integrated them into their practices. I look forward to the challenges of each new issue and hope to hear from our readers about what they’d like to learn as they grow their practices.