Technology vs ageing

1 November 2023
Autumn 2023

In the final part of our series on ageing, Adrian O’Dowd looks at how technology will play a vital role in eye care for older people.

Domains covered

Communication Clinical practice

Promises that may seem like science fiction are already on the horizon in the ways optometrists will treat older patients – the part of the population that is more likely to need help with their eyesight in the future (Umfress and Brantley, 2016).

Developments including bionic eyes, routine robotic eye surgery, drugs that will treat cataracts without the need for surgery, nanotechnology to deliver drugs more effectively, and a one-time injection to cure age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are all being investigated.

Experts believe the future lies in technology and its huge potential to improve eye care.

Dr Peter Bloomfield, Director of Research at the Macular Society, which spends up to £2m every year on 10 to 15 research projects, says: “Technology in all forms is going to be playing an increasingly large role in optometry and ophthalmology. There will be a lot that emerges for clinical use, diagnostics or technologies to deliver medications.”

Professor Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford and Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Oxford Eye Hospital, says: “We are going to see improved intraocular lenses and more accurate biometry. Artificial intelligence (AI) will help us with that. We’ll also see improvements in treatment of retinal diseases through genetic rather than injection treatments.”

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