Optical Prism November - Page 35

EMPOWERING “The eyes are windows into our overall health,” noted Sales adding wearable technology is an important direction for eyewear. “By empowering individuals with wearable technology, like a pair of smart frames, we could move from a model of health insurance to health assurance.” Eye exams provide the only noninvasive view of blood vessels and the optic nerve. As a result, eye doctors can detect early signs of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol before any other healthcare provider. “At VSP, we’re excited about what’s on the horizon for this platform as it relates to health assurance. Imagine an enhanced frame with sensors that can help the wearer monitor their health in real time and synch the data with a doctor for more seamless health management. The possibilities for predictive and preventative care—via the eyes—are incredible,” said Sales. Google isn’t the only company that sees a future in digital contact lenses. Swiss company, Sensimed AG, has developed a contact lens-based solution to measure the intraocular pressure that results from the liquid buildup in the eyes of glaucoma patients, while Innovega has developed lenses that interact with full HD (high definition) glasses. >>>> THE FUTURE It’s hard to say exactly what exactly will be possible for the future capabilities of smart eyewear and digital contact lenses. However, “by understanding the types of diseases that can be detected through the eyes today, it’s plausible to imagine a future where smart eyewear could monitor things like hypertension and cholesterol; track glucose levels; or even watch for early onset of Alzheimer’s,” said Sales. He added that, “On a more basic level, an enhanced frame could help the wearer track their steps and keep tabs on posture and gait. Another scenario could be that of a post-op heart surgery patient. If the patient and their doctor could monitor cardiovascular changes in real time through a wearable device, rather than via weekly or monthly checkups, this could free up the patient and the healthcare systems as a whole to manage care to others in need.” Optical Prism | November-December 2014 31