I’ve always been a proponent of innovation and advances in technology, especially in my own field of eyecare. I’ve also been a strong advocate for the expansion of the eyecare business world. What I’ve learned over the past decade is that the intersection of these two aspects of eyecare can often be a dangerous place.

Advances over the last 30 years have included digital retinal photography, electronic medical records, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery devices as well as more effective glaucoma drop therapies, automated eyeglass prescription checks, in depth infrared camera retinal analysis, and many more advances. The pace with which these advances have been introduced has been staggering.

As health practitioners, it’s our duty to do no harm, and provide the best, most ethical quality patient care at our disposal.  The ever-present dilemma is this; does the latest, greatest, most expensive and quickest method to achieve the result always live up to best practice standards? The answer is clear, and it is unequivocally “no.”

There’s no question technology has dramatically changed healthcare for the better. We are now able to prevent vision loss in potentially blinding eye conditions that were previously undetectable. If used appropriately, and judiciously, technology is our greatest ally against sight threatening conditions. But the technology cannot be autonomous. It cannot be allowed as a substitute for the astute clinician. It cannot be relied upon to hear subtle complaints that may lead a diagnosis in a completely different direction.

The perceived simplicity of an eyeglass or contact lens exam is no different. I can cite countless examples of potentially damaging contact lens complications or potentially sight threatening vision issues that have gone undetected by the patient, and would certainly be missed by a machine or computer. And isn’t this what we are talking about with online eyecare, eyeglass prescriptions, and contact lens prescriptions without exams? Patient controlled prescriptions with little to no oversight or regulation by a certified healthcare practitioner representing a potential danger to each and every patient? It is known that these services do not replace a full eye exam but to many people, the only function of an eye exam is to receive a new glasses or contact lens prescription. Would you schedule a second eye care appointment to confirm your prescription and check on your eye health? Most do not and will not do both.

The bottom line is there is no adequate replacement for good doctors and 1:1 healthcare interactions. A machine does not care about the result. A machine does not display empathy. A machine does not listen to you, or comfort you.

For a complete and thorough eye exam performed by a skilled doctor trained on how to utilize these great advances in technology appropriately, please call Clarity Advanced Eyecare at 248-369-3300 or visit us online at www.ClarityAdvancedEyecare.com for more information.