No field of medicine has gained from innovations in medical technology more than ophthalmology, and the recipients of these advancements have been the patients.
Fremont, CA: Ophthalmology has gone through many changes. Intracapsular contract surgery has given away to extracapsular surgery, then phacoemulsification, the routine utilization of intraocular lenses, and pars plana vitrectomy, the excimer laser, and pharmaceutical treatment for macular degeneration. This list could go on indefinitely. This field in medical technology has reaped the benefits of innovations.
Medical technology is an umbrella term that encompasses every aspect of innovation in this field, including the advancements in pharmaceuticals, diagnostic and therapeutic devices, and information technology. Most of these advances have been acquired via a synergistic relationship between industry and ophthalmologists that has fueled innovation. In return, innovations have provided physicians with tools to diagnose better and treat their patients.
Many technological advances have been derived from areas outside of medicine. Innovations in aspheric and diffractive IOLs are rooted in optical advances designed to enhance the telescopes and cameras. Before being used for the cornea, IBM's excimer laser was developed to etch microchips for computers.
With the ever-growing use of electronic health records (EHR), mobile technologies like tablets and smartphones, and telemedicine, physicians and patients recognize the benefits these new medical technologies bring. For example, physicians now have access to any data they require—drug information, patient history or records, research and studies, and more in real-time, wherever they are, with the help of mobile devices. It is now a rare phenomenon that a reference to a book is needed when a smartphone can provide the answers in seconds. One of the prime benefits of information technology in ophthalmology has been the integration of new devices with the diagnostic and guidance systems to improve patient outcomes in cataract surgery, vision correction, drug delivery options, and IOP reduction.
It is possible to anticipate procedures with more accuracy and safety thanks to continued innovations in the field. Technological innovations in ophthalmology and the healthcare industry usually continue to provide physicians with innovative ways to enhance the quality of care delivered to the patients and healthcare around the world.