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Recently, a Frenchman who was blind for more than 40 years experienced a partial return of his vision as a result of gene therapy. This was a breakthrough (the first successful display) in optogenetic therapy. His recovered sight shows that vision care is pushing the envelope with treatments for the blind. At the same time, technology also continues to bring help to those with visual deficits. With 12 million US adults over 40 suffering from some form of blindness, eye doctors in Tulsa, OK are looking to these new technologies to improve life for their patients.
Smart cameras, canes and headsets
Technology is focusing on ways to give visually impaired people more autonomy. With the following innovations, independence is more easily achieved.
The OrCam MyEye Pro is one of the newer smart cameras now available. This device attaches to the arm of a pair of glasses. When the wearer touches the camera or points a finger, MyEye takes a picture and then describes the designated object to the wearer. It can even scan barcodes and read the denominations of currency.
Smart canes also give the blind new freedom and mobility. WeWALK uses ultrasound to detect a broader range of obstacles ahead of the user and buzzes when it detects a nearby barrier. The cane even senses blocks above the user’s waist, such as street signs.
Headphones, long used by the visually impaired for hearing printed documents, have upgraded to SleepPhones. This innovation helps those suffering from blindness-related sleep disorders. Modeled like a fabric sweatband, SleepPhones uses ultra-thin, padded speakers so users can comfortably wear theirs and listen to music or other sounds while falling asleep.
Virtual reality takes vision tech to a new world
Technology hasn’t stopped at supplemental products. It’s going a step further with immersion. Thus, eye doctors in Tulsa, OK will soon have even more solutions to suggest to their patients.
Microsoft’s virtual reality (VR) white cane allows visually impaired people to navigate a VR environment with haptic and auditory simulations. They do so using a white cane, which imitates the cane’s interactions with objects in the virtual world.
Another exciting VR technology is Transport Systems Catapult’s visual impairment simulator. It uses augmented reality to let city designers and the public at large see the world through the eyes of people with a range of visual impairments. This raises awareness of the blind community and encourages improvements to public facilities that are more inclusive and accessible to all.
Finally, robotic guide dogs, replacing the well-known German Shepherd in a harness, are well along in development.
Accessibility aids for the visually impaired
While traditional service dogs are familiar to many on American streets, common aids for the visually impaired today include far more advanced solutions. Among the current tech devices that eye doctors in Tusla, OK should be aware of are:
- Electronic mobility aid: Helps users detect obstacles within approximately 10 feet.
- Talking tech: Includes watches, thermometers, scales, and blood glucose and blood pressure readers to provide greater independence.
- JAWS (Job Access With Speech) Screen Reader: A popular screen reader for use with Windows that provides both text-to-speech and Braille results.
- Kurzweil text-to-speech software: Assists the blind with using computers.
- Refreshable Braille displays: Software from the American Foundation for the Blind that processes displayed information and produces electronic Braille pages.
- Refreshable Braille keyboards: The American Printing House for the Blind’s Mantis Q40 keyboard. As users type, the Braille display gives written information that fills in for a screen reader, which speaks descriptions aloud.
- Braille printers and translators.
- Screen reading software added to cell phones.
AI leads advanced eye care in Tulsa to the future
Artificial intelligence (AI) offers new freedom and flexibility to the visually impaired. For example, the tasks and accomplishments of a service animal are combined with AI to provide greater protection. The dog focuses on its assigned limited tasks. At the same time, AI reads and analyzes the user’s broader surroundings and watches out for threats that the service animal would not recognize.
Similarly, German company AiServe is developing a machine learning system that will combine AI with location services. The system uses a camera, computer vision system and speech to enable the visually impaired to move around independently.
Eye doctors in Tulsa, OK, Vision Care Direct can help take your practice to the future
As a provider network owned and operated by Oklahoma eye care professionals, Vision Care Direct can help you offer advanced technology eye care to your patients. Through our network of vendors, we offer preferred pricing to our members. This structure supports advanced eye care in Tulsa and allows practitioners like you to offer the highest level of service while maintaining a profitable practice.
Plus, we offer pre-paid plans so your patients can receive comprehensive eye exams, as well as lenses and contacts. Vision Care Direct is a network for you and your patients. We strive to give you the resources you need to provide high-quality care through high reimbursements, no lab requirements and competitive pricing.
Contact Vision Care Direct today to see how our provider network can help eye doctors in Tulsa, OK like you.