Is The Online Eye Exam The Way Of The Future?
By Essilor News
by Howard Purcell
Senior Vice President of Customer Development Essilor of America, Inc.
The simple answer is no. Dr. Howard Purcell shares Essilor’s lens on online eye exams.
In the age of smart devices, we can do practically anything at the touch of a button without leaving our homes. As discussion around online refractions and eye exams grows, it’s easy to wonder where technology can - and should - play a role in eyecare practices.
Today’s digital world empowers patients to conduct online vision screenings, which can help identify unrecognized vision issues and the need to see an eyecare professional. Emerging technology also enables people to do a self-refraction from the comfort of their home. While securing a prescription at home is convenient, eyecare practitioners recognize this digital option fails to provide a necessary and complete snapshot of a patient’s visual health.
When it comes to providing high-quality patient care, the reality is technology today is simply not suited to replace the comprehensive eye exam that eyecare practitioners provide. Practitioners recognize each patient is unique, and diseases do not always manifest in the same way in every set of eyes. Additionally, patients do not always react to therapeutic and refractive solutions in the same way. It takes a trained professional to understand and discover the nuances in eye health and vision. That’s why Essilor firmly believes that professional care, clinical observation and judgment on an individual basis is required. And, we will be the partner to lead the charge in insuring more consumers visit independent eyecare professionals for a yearly eye exam.
That doesn’t mean we should shy away from technology – it’s happening around us. In order to stay relevant, we must acknowledge the business of eyecare is on the cusp of a drastic adaptation that brings evolving vision technologies to the forefront of our practices. Using big data, artificial intelligence and, in some cases, virtual reality, practitioners have already started to adopt technology to supplement, support, and boost aspects of their practice. Looking to the future, innovation that delivers better outcomes, an enhanced patient experience and/or efficiencies or even practitioner convenience may be just what the doctor ordered.
To better support the needs of independent eyecare practitioners in today’s day and age, Essilor is at the forefront of technological advancements. We take pride in ensuring the innovations we support are used for the benefit of patients and of the eyecare industry overall. Our view is that technology, in the right situations, can help us address a broader audience, raise awareness for vision issues, drive need and demand for eye exams, grow our customers’ business and drive more knowledgeable patients into offices.
We know technology has and will continue to change our industry. As Charles Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest species that survives, it’s not even the most intelligent, it is the one most responsive to change.” Essilor works tirelessly to empower our partners to take advantage of the technologies and new innovations that will bring our customers value, benefit patients and increase the number of eye exams each year.
By supporting the eyecare practice of the future, Essilor continues to innovate and evolve hand-in-hand with independent eyecare professionals. When we imagine the future of vision correction and protection, we see it through the lens of the thousands of eyecare practitioners we work with to achieve our mission of improving lives by improving sight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Howard Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O., Dipl., is the Senior Vice President of Customer Development for Essilor of America, Inc. His professional background includes 11 years in private practice and diverse corporate leadership experience. Dr. Purcell is a Diplomate in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry. He is also a global board member for Optometry Giving Sight.