From software that allows patients to try frames on before picking them up in-store, to new avenues to treat vision therapy patients, the metaverse is poised to make a huge impact on the eye care industry.
What in the world is the metaverse? Despite how complex the topic may seem, the answer is deceptively simple. The metaverse is an online digital space where people can interact. It combines things such as social media, augmented reality, online gaming, Virtual Commerce and even cryptocurrencies. Digital spaces like the metaverse hold great potential to advance how we interact with one another.
A New Frontier for Business
The metaverse has opened up new opportunities for companies to do business with people, and is changing the way consumers interact with brands. In fact, some companies have already begun setting up virtual stores where customers can browse displayed merchandise, try on (so to speak) and purchase from the comfort of their own home.
The main difference between vCommerce and eCommerce, is vCommerce allows customers to experience products in a virtual space prior to purchase. This new virtual dimension opens up countless new options for how consumers interact with the products they’re searching for.
According to recent research by Goldman Sachs, 63% customers said virtual reality technologies would significantly alter the way they purchase products. In the same survey, two-thirds of internet users said they would be interested in using vCommerce.
A New Look for Eye Care
While the retail industry is already speedily integrating these new technologies into their sales strategies, the eye care industry has started adopting them for its purposes. From apps that crank optical sales using augmented reality, to new vision therapy treatments using virtual reality, the metaverse is already driving practices forward.
Try Before You B-Eye: A New Optical Sales Model
Optical vendors have incorporated augmented reality into the eyeglass buying experience. A great example of this is Warby Parker’s Try-On App. Now patients can shop for glasses online and see how the frames look on them before they buy without ever having to leave the comfort of their home.
The use of augmented reality in optical sales is fast becoming a necessity that many patients consider when weighing who to buy their glasses from. As the metaverse continues to expand, buyers will continue to seek out opportunities to experience the perks of a retail setting in the form of online interactions.
VR-ision Care: The Treatment Applications of Virtual Reality
Even as early as 2015, eye care professionals were discussing the exciting possibilities VR opened up for diagnosing and treating patients. Now the drive to create technologies to interact with the metaverse has made it all achievable.
For starters, virtual reality solves a persistent problem: The fact that treatment takes place within the practice environment. Conventional treatments just can’t simulate most real-world situations where a patient’s eye problems are most noticeable. With virtual reality, you can simulate any scenario you can imagine. Best of all, you can accurately measure the problem right in the office, based on how the patient performs.
Virtual reality in eye care isn’t limited to diagnosing vision impairment. It can also be used to create new treatment regimens. For example, virtual reality goggles can be used to treat patients with binocular vision disorders by slowly adjusting what they see in a virtual world to retrain their eyes into aligning properly.
Training the Eye Care Professionals of Tomorrow
Even more promising is the use of virtual reality to practice difficult eye procedures before performing them on patients. Now doctors can do trial runs to test out new procedures or visualize a way to solve difficult eye care problems, leading to safer, more efficient eye care and more highly skilled doctors.
Using virtual reality, students enrolled in optometric and ophthalmologic colleges around the world can get hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating eye problems in a faster, safer and more detailed environment than previously possible outside of an anatomy lab. Virtual training opportunities don’t stop after donning their cap and gown either. Imagine a world of continuing education where you can watch a colleague describe and perform a new method for treating keratoconus, and then you can perform the same procedure under their direction, all from the confines of your living room.
The metaverse is rapidly improving the field of eye care. Between new ways to reach patients, develop new treatments and train the next generation of doctors, the future of eye care looks bright indeed. And with the increased focus on the metaverse brought on by companies like Facebook, there’s no doubt that virtual technologies will only continue to improve in the coming years.