100% Optical

On stage at 100% Optical: future technology in OCT

Tim Cole, clinical affairs manager for Heidelberg Engineering UK, told OT  about his session at 100% Optical, which will explore the future of optical coherence tomography


In the lead-up to 100% Optical 2023 in February, OT reached out to a selection of speakers from the education programme to find out more about the sessions on offer, the topics that will be explored, and what visitors can expect. 

What is the focus of your session?

My focus for this talk will be the future of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and IT in ophthalmology and optometry.

What are some of the key messages you wish to highlight?

I would like to talk about artificial intelligence (AI) in eye care, the current phases of electronic referral systems, and the challenges we face as manufacturers with data management.

Artificial intelligence is seen by many as the future of refined referrals. What that potentially means for optometry is a ‘diagnosis button,’ which could help primary care clinicians refer with higher accuracy. However, we need to be careful and be realistic about the pitfalls of this technology. We are still very much in the embryonic phase, but I can talk about some of the amazing research going on right now and other potential developments for the future.

Unfortunately, as simple as e-referrals should be, we are still in a frustrating era with this, due to many reasons which I intend to highlight. From different image file types and reports, to the huge range of communication options, I want to talk about the big picture and the potential of a national joined-up system, something the NHS is already trying to tackle. My intention is to define the current landscape and identify the needs in secondary care.

Finally, data management is a huge part of my role as the clinical affairs manager for Heidelberg Engineering UK, as I drive all our research projects in ophthalmology. My intention is to talk about true data anonymisation, digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM) and the often complex situation of clinical governance – all hurdles that we must overcome to streamline and open further big data research and e-referrals going forward.

Who is this topic for? Who might benefit the most from joining?

Primarily focused to optometrists and DOs, but I think it will be relevant to anyone involved in the optometric business.

Optometrists need to be prepared and informed for the new challenges that come with new technology


Why is this topic so important for optometrists to engage with?

Technology has completely revolutionised ophthalmology over the past 20 years, particularly with OCT, but now as we speed forwards into the full-digital era, optometrists need to be prepared and informed for the challenges that come with new technology.

What do you hope the top takeaway will be for attendees?

A greater knowledge of the current landscape in digital healthcare technology and a glimpse into what to expect in the coming few years and maybe beyond.