Casting an eye over the past year in vision care

Natasha Szombara, Account Manager of Meditech at FMC Global Talent.
Natasha Szombara, Account Manager of Meditech at FMC Global Talent.

A lot can happen in a year.

So, as we come close to Optrafair this year, we thought we’d take a look at what has happened in the world of vision care since last year.

Key factors driving the demand and supply of innovative diagnostic and surgical systems in eye care

  • A rising aging population drives demand for different optometry products and treatment options. By 2030 it is projected that 22%of the total population will be over 65, meaning that this trend is likely to continue.
  • An increase in visual disorders related to diabetes and the growing prevalence of retinal diseases and glaucoma.
  • The micro invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices segment is projected to experience significant growth.
  • Prominent players in eye equipment, such as Carl Zeiss, Optos and Canon are investing in innovation.
  • The NHS spend on eye health services has almost doubled in the last ten years – patient appointments in ophthalmology represent the second highest number of outpatient attendance for any speciality.

What’s happening in the world of ophthalmology?

  • Ophthalmic and optometry equipment manufacturers are investing significantly in technology innovation to improve design, function, precision and speed.
  • High street innovation is being propelled by market forces. Commercial pressures will see technology increasingly harnessed to both streamline the patient journey and raise the standards of services provided.

2017: The year of OCT

  • We saw the industry standardising Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as part of services provided both within the optical retail and clinical environment. This brought in a huge demand for Ophthalmic Photographers to transition into Clinical Application Specialist roles for major OCT manufacturers.
  • OCT is so widely used due to its significant clinical value in regards to early detection and monitoring of eye diseases through retinal thickness analysis.
  • OCT also provides a premium sight-test service for patients, typically for fees of £50-£80. However, the lowest price we have found was just £5 on top of a standard vision test!

The future of OCT

  • Multi-model imaging providing simultaneous viewing of 3D OCT and 2D retinal photography.
  • OCT with confocal laser ophthalmoscopy technology – this is already implemented into Heidelberg’s Spectralis HRA+OCT
  • Patient-operated, handheld OCT and acuity testing is already in development in the UK, and could be market ready by 2020.

Power to the Optometrist!

  • The future is giving more diagnosis responsibility to optometrists, alleviating part of the strain on the NHS. Further support needs providing to enable optometrists to upskill across the new technologies that are now available when working in this role.
  • The optometrist holds the power. There is now access on the high street to digital fundus imaging, and more recently, ultra-wide field retinal imaging and swept source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT). These developments will bring enormous diagnostic and monitoring power to the optometrist.

Ultra-wide field… It’s the future!

  • I’m predicting a huge increase in the demand for ultra-wide field retinal imagining devices which allow the optometrist to view over 80% of the retina.
  • The current market leader is Optos, however Carl Zeiss are storming their way through the market with their latest offering, the Clarus system. This is set to be the next gen fundus imaging system with true colour and hig-resolution across the entire image.
  • By the early 2020s, with OCT anticipated as standard in most practices, we expect greater emphasis on ultra-wide field imaging to differentiate top-tier clinical services
  • Other innovations I’ve got my eye on include the Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK) – a collaborative UK initiative – which is predicted to cause particular disruption to the market!

FMC Meditech in the ophthalmology market

FMC Meditech will be at Optrafair at the Birmingham NEC from the 14th – 16th April, on stand G36.
If you’d like to book a meeting with us to discuss your recruitment plans, email me at natasha.szombara@fmctalent.com or call me on +44 (0) 1522 812 247