While a change in approach and major investment is needed to increase the number of health care workers delivering eye care, it will not keep pace with the growing and changing demand in many countries.
Technological solutions are one of the tools we need to use to ensure that the hardest to reach have access to the services they need.
- smartphones for sight tests in primary care clinics, schools or workplaces
- handheld refraction devices that can be operated by technicians with minimal training and assist with appropriate referrals
- artificial intelligence supporting screening, diagnosis and data analysis.
- online training.
Technology is already transforming our sector and provides the tools to improve access and reach the hardest to reach. This means we have to include technology appropriately in our service delivery models, develop means to assess, accredit and regulate technology and ensure there is constant focus on those technologies which will help improve access.
This will require our sector to not only facilitate the use of technology in eye health but work with new and existing partners to ensure that is it integrated within wider health systems and that new technologies are incentivised and shared globally to be used where most needed.
Equally, we have to ensure this technology is also being harnessed to improve health information systems and get the data we need to assess, monitor and track progress in eye health.