We all understand that we are in the ever growing age of technology but how does that relate to the optical industry? Tablets have replaced our chunky cash registers, booking an eye exam can be done online at midnight, 3D printers are making high end eyewear and selfies are the new mirror for eyeglasses. Last week I was in Yellowstone and have to admit I was a little disgusted by the amount of selfie sticks I saw. I felt like people are no longer taking it all in but rather taking a quick snap and then off to the next natural wonder. They are spending a fraction of the time it would take to set up a tripod and self-timer on their camera. I guess we just figured out a better way to do something that we already do. Are we still appreciating the world around us and just being more efficient?
How do Opticians use the latest technology to keep up with the fast growing trends? The fear of our real life optical store being replaced by online eyeglass merchants is a reality we have all thought about. But what about eye exams? Is it possible to do them faster and just as accurate? What about cheaper and even without a doctor in the room? Wait, what?
At first, the thought of a virtual eye doctor seemed impossible. However, during a simple refraction the doctor doesn’t physically touch the patient, so technically he doesn’t need to be in the same room. 1. Tele-Ophthalmology is an area of telemedicine that delivers eye care through digital medical equipment and telecommunications technology. Soon we will be installing new state-of-the-art equipment to have a remote eye doctor on staff, and I must say I’m thrilled. Our technicians will refract the patient and send the information electronically to a board-certified Ophthalmologist who will appear live on the HD monitor in front of them. After reviewing the digital information, a signed prescription is printed within minutes and they are ready for a new pair of specs. The new instruments for this service will also replace our current equipment used for traditional comprehensive exams. Our doctor gets fancy new equipment and we have a doc on call when he’s not there, it’s a win-win!
We have an amazing Optometrist that has been with us for years and travels to multiple stores to do eye exams for us. Unfortunately given our seasonal business we are usually not able to fill up the books for him year round. And what are our busiest days of the year? Holidays of course. It is still shocking when someone asks me on Christmas Day “You can do the exam now, right?” I guess our time-pressed customers have been ready for this for a while.
This definitely will not replace a full comprehensive eye exam. After the patient history is filled out on the iPad it checks for any medical conditions that would warrant an eye exam. Any red flags will automatically result in us scheduling an appointment with our in house OD. If they wish to receive just a simple refraction we can do it right away. A great way to help build new clients for our doctor and great for us Opticians who constantly hear from our tourists: “I love these frames, but I don’t have a prescription… and I leave tomorrow.”
It’s an exciting and somewhat scary time to see these changes but I am ready to embrace it and can’t wait to see what the future holds for our industry.
Source: 1. www.for2020now.com