5 Digital Trends In Ophthalmology You Should Not Miss

Digital technologies are expanding and complementing more and more examination techniques in ophthalmology. "Digital technologies" is a somewhat fuzzy term in this context. In this article, we bring some order to the different digital technologies in ophthalmology.

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In this short article, we set out to gather the top 5 digital trends in ophthalmology that you shouldn't miss. in our opinion, these technologies will have a huge impact on patient care in the coming years and shape our everyday medical lives as doctors - So, don't miss out!


1.Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: AI algorithms and machine learning techniques have shown great potential in the field of ophthalmology. They can be used for early detection and diagnosis of eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. AI can analyze large amounts of data, including retinal images and patient records, to provide accurate and efficient diagnoses. The eye in particular is suitable as a paired organ for the development of AI algorithms. The first ones are even already in use! Meanwhile, there are also some startups developing AI algorithms for both the anterior and posterior segments of the eye.


Companies: e.g. AltrisAI, RetinAI


2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): VR and AR technologies have the potential to revolutionize ophthalmic surgery and medical education. Surgeons can use virtual reality to simulate surgical procedures, practice complex techniques, and improve their skills before performing actual surgeries. AR can provide surgeons with real-time information, overlaying digital images or data onto the surgical field, aiding in precise interventions. But AR and VR also bring a lot of benefits to patients. Thus, a variety of examinations can be performed in a standardized way using VR glasses (e.g. neuroophthalmological examinations, visual acuity, visual fields, motility, etc.). In addition, for example, diseases or also the vision after the performance of various operations such as the implantation of multifocal lenses can be simulated. In addition, VR is also suitable for patient education.


Companies: e.g. TwentyTwenty Therapeutics, Bulbitech


3. Microelectronics, Wearables and Robotics: Microelectronics, both implanted and non-implanted, for example in the form of smart contact lenses, as sensors, as micropumps, as stimulants for defective cells, will revolutionize diagnostics as well as therapy of ophthalmological diseases. There are already initial studies with implanted microsensors that continuously measure intraocular pressure or smart contact lenses that measure intraocular pressure, tear film osmolarity or blood glucose levels. Implanted in eyeglasses, even severely visually impaired patients can benefit from this development.  Surgical robots represent a macro-electronic counterpart. Here, too, there are now initial prototypes that can be helpful, for example, in intravitreal injections, retinal surgery and lens surgery. This is especially true in combination with next-generation surgical lasers.


Companies: e.g. TwentyTwenty Therapeutics, Implantdata


4. Telemedicine/ Video Ophthalmology/ Portable + Home Diagnostics: Telemedicine and videoophthalmology has received a real boost from Covid-19. There are now a variety of platforms for transmitting and exchanging patient image data and clinical data. Direct consultation with patients online via videos, for example before surgery, is also becoming increasingly common. The advantage is that new components of NewWork are brought into the daily lives of patients and physicians, thus reaching patients who live remotely, for example.


Companies: e.g. EMAGine AG, Notal Vision, TwentyTwenty Therapeutics


5. Big Data Social Science: Big Data Social Science is currently still controversial and in its infancy. Nevertheless, there are already studies that can show that, for example, data from search engines or social media can give us interesting insights into the behavior of patients, about pandemics such as during COVID-19 or similar. So far, however, there is a huge lack in terms of the validity of these studies for specific patient groups, geographic areas, etc. Nevertheless, there could be some potential in the future to answer macro health economic questions as well as individual patient journeys.


Companies: Different Universities and Marketing Agencies


CONCLUSION: New digital technologies offer great potential especially for ophthalmology, as it can use a variety of imaging data and the eyes are very accessible for remote or telemedical examination purposes. In the future, we will see an exciting development.

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Sebastian Siebelmann

Sebastian is founder of Digital-Ophthalmology.net and author of this article. His research focus is corneal, cataract and refractive surgery, novel imaging technics and digital strategies in ophthalmology.


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