New Technology in Eye Care


New technologies are making it easier for patients to receive care at home or in a doctor’s office. These innovations can make it easier for patients to receive their eye exams, as well as diagnose and treat common eye conditions.

For example, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) uses light waves to take cross-sectional pictures of the retina to help doctors detect and monitor glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases.

Optomap (r) Retinal Imaging

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging modality that uses reflected light in a manner similar to ultrasound to create high-resolution cross-sectional images of the vitreoretinal interface, retina and subretinal space. OCT has been shown to be useful for screening, diagnosis, and management of glaucoma and other retinal diseases.

Retinal imaging was performed by Optos Daytona (Daytona, Optos(r), UK) using two scanning laser wavelengths of green (532 nm) and red (635 nm). A skilled technician, masked to the results of the dilated retinal examination by a retinal specialist, captured the images.

A total of 109 refractive surgery candidates underwent a comprehensive eye exam including slit-lamp biomicroscopy, dilated retinal examination with scleral indentation by a retinal specialist and Optomap 200Tx imaging. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were calculated between the findings of the Optomap evaluation and the gold standard retinal examination.

The sensitivity and specificity for identifying peripheral lesions were found to be moderate. Moreover, the reliability of the examination improved when the images were evaluated by a reader having at least one year of retinal training.

iCare Tonometers

iCare Tonometers are handheld devices that use a light probe to measure intraocular pressure (IOP) quickly, painlessly, and accurately without the need for eye drops or the “puff of air” test. It is also an ideal tool for glaucoma screening programs.

iCare tonometers are based on unique, patented rebound technology that allows a small probe to make a momentary contact with the cornea for IOP measurement. iCare requires no specialized skills, so it’s easy to use and patients barely notice the quick measurement.


An autorefractor is a computer-controlled machine that your optometrist uses during your eye exam to measure your refractive error and determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses. This can help diagnose and treat certain eye diseases, including astigmatism, corneal distortion and keratoconus.

Traditional autorefractors use a beam of infrared light to measure the size and shape of a ring at the back of your eye, providing a baseline for corrective lens prescriptions. These table-sized, heavy, stationary machines can cost up to $15,000.

Now MIT spinout PlenOptika is working on a new type of automatic autorefractor that measures your refractive error digitally. The startup’s technology uses off-the-shelf optics and relatively inexpensive electronics, but it has advanced image and data processing techniques that make up for these shortcomings.

The startup has also developed a new system that can rapidly determine when to capture a measurement, eliminating training barriers for technicians. This can help speed up the eye exam process and reduce your costs.

Advanced Phoropter

The phoropter or refractor is an important piece of equipment in an eye care professional’s office. It is used to measure patients’ vision at near and distance, and determine their eyeglass prescriptions.

Today, high-tech refraction systems boast better accuracy, comfort and time savings. Some even incorporate wavefront aberrometers to improve precision.

But is this worth the opportunity cost of forgoing other practice-enhancing upgrades? Despite these claims, some skeptics say the technology isn’t that far removed from the tried-and-true phoropter.

The VX55 digital phoropter system, made by Visionix, features a sound ergonomic design, efficient refraction management and intuitive touch-screen interface. It also enables bluetooth wireless communication between the refractor and tablet.

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