UK company Aston EyeTech has launched eMap, an advanced range of lens inspection technology, at Vision Expo East in New York (16–18 March).
The technology is part of EYOTO, an ophthalmic instrumentation brand from Aston EyeTech, which is a 2013 spin out from Aston University's School of Optometry.
The company was founded based on the biomedical engineering work of Dr Tom Drew, chief technical officer of Aston EyeTech, and an artificial intelligence (AI)-based ophthalmic diagnosis support platform.
The company is developing a range of hardware and software products that specifically incorporates recent advances in AI, low cost and high performance optics, and mobile processing power.
A changing market
Speaking to OT at the show, the company explained the eMap system incorporates “highly accurate power mapping and lens surface inspection as well as full refractive index and coating checks. The system can spot a lens defect through every stage in production and incorporates data collection, storage and cloud portal access. It drastically reduces the amount of breakage and remakes, and significantly improves the end user’s product acceptance and customer satisfaction.”
The company added that the eMap solution has been designed “for lens producers, enabling a step change in quality control, and eye care professionals through the delivery of a consultative selling approach that drives customer satisfaction and dramatically higher margins.”
The retail version of the technology is binocular, measuring both lenses in a pair of spectacles simultaneously. This proprietary technology is only available from EYOTO.
Commenting on the new range of products, Aston EyeTech’s chief executive officer, Carl Francis, said: “The optical market is changing quickly, and EYOTO is at the leading edge of that change. The eMap technology puts a powerful toolset in the hands of both the optical lab and the retailer. This is a fast, one button system that checks lens design, corridor width and height, reading zone fit, frame suitability, lens surface damage, manufacturing defects, and more. In addition, it is a powerful and very visual consultative selling tool for the retailer. It all leads to dramatically improved margins and customer satisfaction.”
Non-executive director on the board of Aston EyeTech, E Dean Butler, said: “eMap is the most important advance in both selling and quality control tools in the 35 years I have been in optics.” The founder of LensCrafters and Vision Express added: “Never before have we been able to show consumers exactly what they are getting and why it is right for them. This is especially true for progressive lenses.”
Aston EyeTech confirmed that it does not have any ties to lens laboratories at present, but told OT the company had already had some “fantastic conversations.”
Working in practice
Speaking to Jim Cox on the Aston EyeTech stand at Vision Expo East, the dispensing optician reiterated to OT the value the product can offer the patients.
“eMap gives the customer something to see,” he explained. “With the lens inspection technology, we are able to show customers what different lenses can do, and what the different levels of lens quality actually means for your vision.”
Drawing parallels with the rise of optical coherence tomography (OCT), the DO smiled, suggesting that the two technologies come from “different places.”
“For me, the experience of the patient when thinking about OCT is about the fear of possible pathologies they might have. eMap is all about improving the patient’s lifestyle,” he said.
Explaining that eMap has been designed to be used front of house in the practice, Mr Cox added that the product’s casing is fully customisable to reflect each practice’s brand identity.
Image credit: Eyoto