In his new book LIFE 3.0, MIT physics professor Max Tegmark poses an interesting question, the answer to which is embedded in a series of nesting questions : “So what career advice should we give our kids? I’m encouraging mine to go into professions that machines are currently bad at, and therefore seem unlikely to get automated in the near future. Recent forecasts for when various jobs will get taken over by machines identify several useful questions to ask about a career before decided to educate oneself for it. For example:
- Does it require interacting with people and using social intelligence?
- Does it involve creativity and coming up with clever solutions?
- Does it require working in an unpredictable environment?”
To what extent might what we do in vision therapy be taken over, at least in part by automation? On that note, I was intrigued by a presentation at the 39th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 2016 in Barcelona, published in a supplement to the journal Perception. If you have the patience, scroll to page 363 and you’ll find information about a new 3d virtual reality system to assess visual function and perform visual therapy. It’s short enough that I’ll save you the trouble, and reproduce in its entirety here:
“Assessment of visual function in a clinical optometric examination is carried out through a battery of subjective tests. A complete examination is time-consuming leading to patient fatigue and the results can be influenciated (sic) by the optometrist. Vision therapy procedures take even longer sessions and are also dependent on subjective patient responses. A new 3D virtual reality system with matching accommodation and convergence planes has been developed (Eye and Vision Analyzer, EVA, DAVALOR, Spain). While the patient plays a short videogame (<5min), objective and fast measurements of most optometric parameters are obtained. The system generates 3D images on two displays. Vergence is induced through image disparity and accommodation is stimulated using a varifocal optical system. EVA also incorporates a Hartmann-Shack autorefractometer and an eye-tracker. Measurements are repeated until obtaining a high confidence level and patient collaboration is also measured. A clinical validation of the system was performed in a group of 250 patients. Optometric parameters related with refraction (objective and subjective), accommodation (amplitude, accommodative facility) and vergence (cover test, near point of convergence, fusional vergence and vergence facility) were obtained with EVA and compared to conventional clinical procedures. Results showed good correlation and differences obtained were always within clinical tolerance.”
Takes alot of computing power to take a Hartmann-Shack autorefractometer and combine it with a vergence analyzer together with an eye tracker. Davalor’s EVA has done this in an attractive high tech way, making it look like a designer version of a visual system imaging station for accommodation, vergence, and ocular motility.
Take a look at Davalor’s business model briefing and note the following:
“Davalor focuses on functional health, being its first interest the visual function. Optometry is the pertinent branch of science (related to how eyes form image on the retina and how the brain: 1) processes image information – interpreting and understanding, 2) makes decisions – voluntary and parasympathetic, and 3) formulates and executes oculo-motor orders – on pupil, crystalline and eye globes). Services for visual function healthcare include sight exam, vision exploration, diagnosis and behavioural training and therapy. The majority of learning at any age (both by means of reading, as well as through emulation) depends on the visual function. 50% of the population suffers from some type of visual impairment which hinders personal and professional development in 10% of the population. Today, less than 2% of population get visual function healthcare. Davalor aims reaching most of population with exploration and diagnosis services, and for those in need, with visual training and therapy services.”
“EVA is a completely autonomous and automatic system which acts as a remote terminal of Davalor IT system. EVA placed at an Optical retailer allows selling services of exploration and diagnosis based on objective measuring (including all 75 parameters of the visual function described by classic Optometry, performing it in only 5 minutes whilst the user interacts with a true 3D videogame), as well as selling services of behavioural training and therapies (typical case is 20 sessions of 10 minutes each performed through 3D videogames). In addition, in its initial set-up, EVA replaces manual equipment of optical stores (and does it in a completely autonomous and automatic manner): phoropter, autorefractor, aberrometer (low orders), 3D visagraph and campimeter (+/- 30o), apart from measuring all the optometric parameters and allowing therapies to be carried out.”
Sound like science fiction? Not really. It will be a fundamental component of Optometric Life 3.0 …