New Trends in Eye Care
The world of medicine has been revolutionized by automation. Doctors no longer need to follow up on patients to know if they’re following their treatment plans. Specialists can access the test results and notes of other physicians at the click of a mouse, and optometrists can now e-prescribe through electronic health record applications. Of course, advances aren’t limited to IT. Molecular technology and plasma surgery have made eye care less invasive and more precise than has ever been possible before. Nanotechnology is making low energy incisions possible, and tissue engineering is changing the face of disease treatment. The coming years will be some of the most thrilling for optometry patients and optometrists alike.
1) Patient Care in Cyberspace
Traditional optometry training teaches nothing about how to work proactively with other specialties, much less how to make sure patients are faring well on their new treatment plans. In an age of big data and automation, however, this failing is becoming extinct. Practice management tools can keep patients educated, support adherence, and even “listen” for online reviews. Software such as www.solutionreach.com pack an extra 10 hours into every day by automating tasks like filling cancelled appointments and sending out reminders so that optometrists can focus on their patients’ care.
2) Plasma Surgery
Plasma energy lets doctors perform surgery without touching any tissue. Kinetic energy and refined thermal effects allow optometrists and ophthalmologists to operate noninvasively to minimize trauma. The eye is a sensitive structure, so every invasive treatment comes with dire risks. This is quickly becoming a problem of the past. Tissue can be dried and sealed to prevent leakage. Diseases can be removed completely one tiny layer at a time. To improve results further, thermal energy provides more precision and less diffusion than has never been possible before.
3) Tissue Engineering
The eye is as complex as it is small, two traits that have meant vision loss for millions of patients.Donors are in short supply, and when secured, they come with possible rejection and even the transmission of new disease. Stem cell therapy is at last making regeneration possible. Degenerative diseases, glaucoma, and age-related sight loss can now be repaired with engineered tissue which can trigger neuron growth.
4) Radiofrequency Technology
In the Eighties, radiofrequency could only be used for refractive surgery, but today, it can treat a wide range of eye problems. Collagen fibres can be shrunk, which can treat astigmatism. Cornea curvature can be increased to provide better vision without serious safety risks. Different lasers can excise tumors, fix lazy eyes, and remove cataracts. When an ophthalmologist considers surgery, he must weigh up the risks and potential benefits, which shrinks the pool of eligible patients. The many non-invasive techniques of the modern age are pushing those numbers up.
5) Marketing in Cyberspace
Healthcare reform is decreasing profit margins for 61% of eyecare professionals, so today’s optometry practice must be marketed as aggressively as any other business. The internet gives patients a potentially viral platform from which to review your care. This can be as beneficial as it can be lethal, so listening tools that automatically track online chatter are necessary to resolve problems. Your online presence must be heavily branded and carefully optimized for search engines. Eye glasses, frames, and exams generate the highest revenue, so they, too, require an online marketing strategy that incorporates social media, blogging, website sculpting.
6) Out-of-Practice Refractive Surgery
Without refractive surgery technology on hand, primary care optometrists must relinquish many of their patients to specialized centers, yet this kind of procedure has become as standard as prescription lenses. To cope with the disconnect, optometrists are using a new form of patient evaluation that includes innovative treatment options. By spending more time assessing which laser and procedure is best for each unique case, optometrists are able to guide their patients closely even when they can’t be involved in their surgery. Respect, cooperation, and understanding are needed to ensure co-management is beneficial to the patient.
Today’s eye care practice offers patients better outcomes, more compassionate care, and fewer risks. As patients become more proactive and educated about their care, optometry becomes a partnership managed by all involved.