Invented by Howard S. Fried, Burton T. Fried, Kurt Schaeffer, William K. Van Cleave, DigitalOptometrics LLC
Remote comprehensive eye examination systems utilize telemedicine technology to provide a comprehensive eye exam without the need for an in-person visit to an optometrist or ophthalmologist. These systems typically consist of a combination of hardware and software components that allow patients to perform various eye tests remotely, while a healthcare professional remotely guides and analyzes the results.
One of the key drivers of the market for remote comprehensive eye examination systems is the increasing prevalence of eye-related conditions and diseases. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from vision impairment or blindness, with conditions such as myopia, cataracts, and glaucoma being the leading causes. With the aging population and the rise in digital device usage, the demand for eye care services is expected to increase, making remote examination systems an attractive option for many.
Another factor contributing to the growth of this market is the convenience and accessibility it offers. Remote comprehensive eye examination systems eliminate the need for individuals to travel to a healthcare facility, saving them time and money. This is particularly beneficial for individuals living in rural or underserved areas where access to eye care specialists may be limited. Additionally, these systems can be used by individuals with mobility issues or those who prefer the convenience of receiving healthcare services from the comfort of their own homes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of remote comprehensive eye examination systems. With social distancing measures and restrictions on non-essential healthcare visits, many individuals have turned to telemedicine as a safe and convenient alternative. Eye care professionals have embraced these systems as a way to continue providing essential services while minimizing the risk of exposure to the virus.
However, there are some challenges that the market for remote comprehensive eye examination systems faces. One of the main concerns is the accuracy and reliability of the tests performed remotely. While these systems have shown promising results, there is still a need for further research and validation to ensure their effectiveness in diagnosing and monitoring eye conditions. Additionally, the cost of implementing and maintaining these systems can be a barrier for some healthcare providers, especially in resource-constrained settings.
Despite these challenges, the market for remote comprehensive eye examination systems is expected to continue growing in the coming years. The advancements in technology, coupled with the increasing demand for accessible healthcare services, make these systems a viable solution for individuals seeking eye care. As more research is conducted and the technology improves, remote comprehensive eye examination systems have the potential to revolutionize the way eye care is delivered, making it more convenient and accessible for everyone.
The DigitalOptometrics LLC invention works as follows
An ophthalmic technologist is present in the exam room with a patient to operate eye examination devices and transmit patient data to a remote location. A skilled technician can provide optical care at the remote location and operate the phoropter remotely. The system uses video and/or Teleconferencing equipment, a phoropter in the examination room and management software to determine the patient’s final prescription. This information is combined with other findings from devices that are integrated into the management software and are used by the patient locally. It is then reviewed remotely by an optometrist.
Background for Remote comprehensive eye examination system
Over 75% of Americans use vision correction. Comprehensive eye exams should be more widely available. Many areas lack optometrists or ophthalmologists, the gatekeepers of eye examinations. Or they may only be available certain days and times of the week. It is important to have access to comprehensive eye exams in order to determine not only the corrective prescriptions of eyeglasses or contact lenses but also identify potential diseases such as glaucoma and macular degenerations.
Internet is increasingly used for optical products like eyeglasses or contact lenses. There are also new technologies which allow the consumer to get refractions through smartphones, portable devices and the internet in order for them to determine a patient’s prescription. Opternative is one of the companies and devices currently offering this technology through refraction devices. Other devices and companies include Eyenetra and Peek.
But these refraction based systems don’t provide the consumer/patient with a thorough eye examination. These systems can update the prescription for contact lenses or eyeglasses with a device but they cannot detect other ocular issues. In fact, it is often the loss of vision and the need for contact lenses or eyeglasses that prompts patients to visit an eyecare professional. Patients who use the internet to order glasses or contact lenses will not have their medical history evaluated and they will not schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Important ocular problems could go undetected without such visits. “These new technologies are convenient but without the proper medical guidance, they can have adverse effects on patients and cause more harm than benefit.
It is desirable to combine the convenience and availability of remote or internet-based eye tests with skilled optometrists, ophthalmologists, or other eye specialists into a system, apparatus, or method for remote comprehensive examinations.
Embodiments in the present disclosure require a remote station, where an optometrist/ophthalmologist is not required to be on site to perform a thorough eye examination. An ophthalmic technologist is in the room with the patient to operate the eye examination equipment, and to transmit the patient’s information to a remote location. A skilled technician will be present at the remote location to provide any necessary medical and/or optical care. He/she may also operate the phoropter remotely if desired. The system uses video and/or Teleconferencing equipment, a phoropter in the examination room and management software to determine the patient’s final prescription. This information is combined with other findings from devices that are integrated into the management software and are used by the patient locally. It is then reviewed remotely by an optometrist.
The optometrist/ophthalmologist can also evaluate other medical conditions related to the eyes while the patient is being assessed for eyeglasses and contacts. The optometrist/ophthalmologist can finalize the findings remotely and then print the prescription locally for contact lenses and/or eyeglasses, as well as any additional findings or comments.
The benefits of this remote-based station-based approach is widespread.
Patients benefit from remote stations because they can receive eye care at their convenience. The patients also get the peace of mind knowing that an optometrist will evaluate them and check for any ocular problems beyond the need for glasses or contacts.
The optometrist, or ophthalmologist, benefits from being able provide his or services at the times and places that are convenient for him or her (similar to how a ride-sharing service, such as Uber) at times that suit them. The optometrist and ophthalmologist can also reach a much wider market, as they are not restricted to patients who live within driving distance.
The host on the local side, where the patients are, benefits because the system allows for better utilization and synergy of other parts in the host’s company. Retail optical stores will lose sales when a customer needs a prescription for eyeglasses but there isn’t an optometrist in the store. It is not practical or cost-effective to have an optometrist on hand for the long hours that retail optical stores need to stay open to make a good profit. It is especially true for an optical department of a large retailer such as Walmart or Target that may be open from 18 to 24 hours a day. A remote station, which allows access to an ophthalmologist or optometrist at any time of day or night, can significantly increase the profitability of an optical store.
In addition, this invention is designed to comply to the recommendations regarding telemedicine set out by the American Optometric Association.” The system is the only one that has been proven to meet all of these recommendations for comprehensive eye exams that include subjective refractive errors and professional judgement by a physician for an accurate objective refractive error.
A. Comprehensive Eye Examination Requirements
The present invention is designed for collecting all the information and performing all the tests as set forth by AOA in a comprehensive eye examination and vision assessment. These requirements are outlined below.
1. Chief complaint: assessing the reason why a patient has an eye examination.
3. General Ocular History: Complete eye health history, including family history, eye diseases, and medications.
4. Examine the eyes for signs of eye disease, such as cataracts or other eye disorders.
5. Current Prescription Analysis: Evaluation of current lens prescription if applicable.
7. Refraction is a test to determine the ability of the eye to focus light on the retina from a distance and up close.
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