Why new developments in optometry matter

VSP Real World Solution Series

Breakthrough technologies are changing eye care in profound ways, making exams and treatments more effective and efficient than ever before. From new tools at the optometrist's office and procedures that eliminate the need for daily eye drops, to smart glasses that track activity, new advances are being made every day.

With so many developments in the eyecare industry, it’s important that vision plans offer your employees access to professionals who use the latest technologies in eye care and deliver the best available treatments.

New equipment to assess and diagnose

We are entering a new age of eye care where doctors can spend less time diagnosing and taking measurements, and more time focusing on outcomes. For decades, eye doctors have used charts and rudimentary tools to examine the eyes. But now, state-of-the-art digital eye exams offer an easy, non-obtrusive way to better examine patients with more precision and a greater understanding of their health.

These digital exams can measure five times more optical characteristics about the patient's visual system than traditional exams. This reduces the amount of back and forth (the dreaded “which is better, #2 or #3?”), allowing optometrists to determine the best prescription with more accuracy. Better technology can also help with early detection of conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes. Retinal imaging technologies in particular can produce high-resolution images of the insides of the eyes and enable optometrists to compare results year-after-year to discover changes.

New treatments, procedures and medicines

As many hidden or neglected vision problems can have serious consequences, vision therapy can help patients better control their eyes to process and perceive information. Modern optometry is moving beyond simply treating vision to address the entire visual system with new treatments, procedures and medicines.

RightEye’s eye-tracking tests and therapies, for example, are a revolutionary new tool. Peer-reviewed research shows that RightEye’s EyeQ tests and Vision Training Games are improving care and outcomes for a broad range of health, vision and performance conditions, including concussion, autism, Parkinson’s disease, reading issues, sports vision and everyday vision problems.

Pachymeters, handheld tools that allow optometrists to use ultrasound to quickly and painlessly measure the thickness of the cornea, are similarly becoming more advanced with new applications. These devices can now collect more information and offer more data for optometrists to diagnose eye problems.

Manufacturers are also developing new drops, solutions and procedures that are dramatically improving eye care. These include topical treatments for presbyopia (loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age) and even a “dropless” therapy that can be injected by physicians and eliminate the need for daily eye drops.

Refocus Group, a pioneer in vision-correcting technology, also recently completed a Phase II clinical trial of its VisAbility Micro-Insert System, a presbyopic procedure performed outside the eye's line of sight. Researchers say it can help correct vision problems without any compromise to distance vision or depth perception.

And while LASIK surgeries have been in use for more than a decade, breakthrough technologies are making laser eye surgery more effective, accurate and useful for more eye conditions. iDesign, for instance, enables doctors to generate a high-definition 3D map of the eyes and all of its irregularities with more than 1,200 data points from which the doctor can create a custom surgery. In one clinical study, 92 percent of patients who used iDesign were able to achieve at least 20-20 vision.

Eyewear of the future

While eyeglasses have been around since the 14th century, new technologies are continually making them stronger and more comfortable. In a move surely inspired by science fiction, firms are adding sensors, special coatings and applying AI design techniques to glasses and frames.

Level™ smart glasses bring wearable technology to the eyewear space. These stylish, designer frames feature a seamlessly integrated activity tracker that syncs movement data to a smartphone-based app. Since eyeglasses are the original wearable technology, there’s no need to worry about wearing an additional device. Level captures the information that matters most—step count, calories burned, and distance traveled—while seamlessly tucking the tech inside three contemporary frame styles.

Blue light exposure from digital devices can lead to eye strain and fatigue. TechShield™ Blue is a premium anti-reflective coating that reduces exposure to blue light from digital screens, energy-efficient lighting, and the sun. This next-generation enhancement can be applied to any prescription or non-prescription lens.

Unity® Via Progressive Lenses are another form of cutting-edge technology, and are currently the highest rated progressive lenses on the market. Each pair is manufactured using custom measurements that ensure wearers experience their best vision possible.

Why VSP makes a difference

Few realize that the eyes are the only place in the body where a doctor can see the circulatory system in action unobstructed. That’s why eye doctors are often the first to detect major health issues and why eye exams are so important, even if you see well. The fact that new technology makes these exams less intrusive, more informative and more effective make them all the more important for your employees.

Employers should ensure their employees have a vision plan that provides them access to groundbreaking benefits that they’ll love and are convenient to use. It’s also a benefit with great return on investment, through early detection of chronic diseases and productivity.

VSP® Vision Care fits the bill and is the only national not-for-profit vision company. Guided by doctors, VSP focuses on creating the best patient experience possible, like giving employees access to a wide selection of providers. Employees have the freedom to choose from among 95,000 access points, including independent doctors, retail chains, and Eyeconic.com, the only online optical retailer that lets employees use their VSP insurance to purchase glasses, contacts, and sunglasses.

A study conducted by VSP Vision Care and Vision Critical, found that employers offering vision benefits from VSP had a 23 percent higher enrollment rate than other vision plans, which makes them a perfect choice for employers everywhere.

Visit getvsp.com/breakthroughs to learn more about their latest innovations in vision care.

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