How to Grow Your Business with Portable Autorefractors with Smart Vision Labs CEO Yaopeng Zhou

How to Grow Your Business with Portable Autorefractors

How to Grow Your Business with Portable Autorefractors

We recently held a webinar on how an advanced autorefractor can grow your business. Smart Vision Labs’ CEO and inventor of the SVOne technology, Yaopeng Zhou, touched upon a range of topics from the facets of the technology itself, to the sectors where portable autorefractorsare being used and the results that have been seen in those very sectors. Whether being used in a mobile optometry practice, optical retail store, mission service trip, or even in determining the next best Major League Baseball player, our advanced, portable autorefractor has helped our partners achieve excellent results for themselves and for their patients. Below are some highlights from the webinar to help take your practice or retail operation to a whole new level.

“What’s the evolution of the Smart Vision Labs’ SVOne Autorefractor? What was the process and can you provide a little bit of the backstory behind the design?”

The inspiration for Smart Vision Labs started out 4 years ago when I read an article saying there are over a billion people around the globe who suffer from uncorrected vision. Back then there were two reasons for that: number one was due to the lack of access to eye care professionals, and number two was that the existing technology was often too bulky and expensive. So the inspiration was to build something I could put in my pocket that anyone could easily use. Fast forward 4 years, here we are with our latest device release. And the story behind the device is pretty interesting from an engineer and designer perspective. Our old initial design in counter with market feedback taught us a lot. That’s why in the last 3 years we’ve launched 3 generations of autorefractors. We received a ton of feedback from the market as well as from the over 500 doctors using our device. This feedback is what led to the release of this current generation.

The biggest change with the current generation is with the physical appearance and, specifically, the stand we now use that dealt with some issues our partners’ were encountering with alignment. The first generation was a handheld device, and we noticed subtle differences depending on who was administering the exam due to how they were holding it and the overall differences in hand stability. When measuring sub micron level precision, every little thing matters. So we took what we learned from market feedback and put it an adjustable, physical stand to stabilize the measurement process. We also optimized the software.

“If I’m running a practice – say I’m an optometrist or ophthalmologist – how long would it take to train my staff to use the device?”
I would say no more than 30 to 45 minutes to train someone on using the device. And I wouldn’t even call it training, I would call it guidance and just becoming familiar with the process.

“So what does the future evolution of the product look like?”
It’s really digging into the wavefront technology. This autorefractor is powerful and we were able to create something so powerful while also figuring out a way to shrink down the technology to something ten times smaller than anything else in the market. We can provide a customized prescription for everyone beyond sphere cylinder. We want to give people vision even better than 20/20. The future is using a device like this to match the digital technology on the lens manufacturing side and then ensuring that everyone has an exact pair of glasses which meet their specific needs. For a normal person like you and I, 20/20 vision is probably okay. But when you’re looking at a more high-end market, maybe people would want to pay extra money to have better than 20/20 vision. From military professionals to sports leagues, there are so many markets where having vision better that 20/20 is really important.

“So we did a number of clinical studies. Can you talk a little about our latest one on Major League Baseball players with Dr. Laby?”
So this clinical study was conducted last year during the spring training season with 5 MLB teams and over 600 players. We discovered that they have 20/12 vision much higher than the average person and even approaching levels or “superhuman eyesight.” In baseball, any refractive error is detrimental. Players need to be able to capitalize on any potential advantage, such as correction of refractive errors. We found that with our refraction technology, MLB players have 0.22 diopter sphere and less than 1/10 diopter cylinder. Most eyeglasses typically won’t even correct that. So I was blown away at how our technology can detect something that a normal lens wouldn’t correct.

“Can you also talk about the pediatric study? With the back-to-school season coming up, lots of kids need glasses to see the board at school. What did you find interesting about this study?”
With a pediatric market, the most important thing is accommodation. So the question with this market is how do you develop a technology with truly relaxing accommodation power? Well, that’s exactly what we did. Our autorefractor relaxes the patient through the ease of its technology. And that combined with the accuracy of the wavefront technology creates a tool that can successfully detect young people’s refractive error.

As for the peer reviewed clinical study, we conducted on healthy adults ages 18 to 35, we found similar results in accuracy. We were able to successfully prove the correlation between our device results and manifest refraction result and were able to detect a correlation coefficient of 0.97. That’s an insanely good number and we’re truly very proud of this technology. Not to mention this was done 3 years ago with our original technology which has only improved since then.

“Were there any case studies that surprised you or were there any findings in the clinical studies that you weren’t expecting?”
I would have to say the Major League Baseball study. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was surprised, but I was definitely amazed by it. We shipped a device to Florida and someone who had never used our technology was able to get highly accurate results. It’s truly an indication of the device’s impressive user experience. Any doctor, or even any person for that matter, can pick this device up and get results similar to those in our clinical studies.

“So let’s talk a little bit about doctors. How do you see this product fitting into their practice, either as a complement or supplement piece of equipment?”
Well for doctors efficiency is key. They see tons of patients and every minute they’re able to save can translate to an economic benefit. With technology like this, they can do an exam right in the waiting room in just minutes without even needing to bring the patient into another room. Additionally, the technology is mobile so you can bring it anywhere. The device itself weighs about 1 lb. There is some added weight because of the stand, but you can also buy a commercial tripod to place the device onto. It’s very easy to move around and with this technology, you can essentially carry your practice with you in a bag. That was unimaginable even 5 years ago. What’s also great about this is that doctors with busy practices who have patients coming in for different needs are now able to direct patients based upon those needs in a more efficient way. It’s sort of like triaging. If they only require a vision exam, the doctor can now do that quickly and devote more time to patients in need of more comprehensive care. This autorefractor allows doctors to be the champion of efficiency through optimizing their workflow by sending patients to different areas of specialties based on their needs.

“How do you see doctors using our device and/or getting involved in telemedicine?”
There are multiple different scenarios on how doctors could get involved in telemedicine. For the doctor who travels a lot but wants to be able to keep the clinic or practice open while he’s traveling, he’s now able to do that. It really depends on how much they want to get involved and the extent at which they want to incorporate telemedicine into their practice. I’ve seen doctors wanting to help other optical retail locations in their free time that are now able to do that. Regardless of their desired level of involvement, telemedicine allows for a lot more flexibility.

“Do you have any advice for new doctors or optometrists as it related to technology?”
We’re in an age of cutting edge technology with a lot of new advances constantly occurring. My advice would be to immerse yourself in learning about these technologies in person to get a sense of what they’re all about. These new technologies might become the status quo and you definitely don’t want to be left behind. You want to acquire all the knowledge – even the knowledge beyond the schools – to incorporate into your practice. We’ll be at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas, September 13-16, 2017 if you want to come see the technology in person, go through the exam, and just play around with it.

“Let’s go through how quick the refraction process takes.”
You can see (video below) once the eye appears in front of the camera, the software is automatically triggering the camera to take a picture without even touching the screen. It takes 3 images per eye and the results appear right away, even faster than the previous generation. The device really is hands-free. This sort of experience was not available before in the medical device industry. So we decided to combine an easy to use consumer experience with a very sophisticated medical device. It’s something that we’re really proud of.


“Since launching the product, what was your biggest ‘Aha’ moment?”
Generally speaking, it was probably just with the learning process of it all. We launched our first product 3 years ago and I thought to myself, “Okay that’s it! I figured it out, this is the ending product.” But I quickly realized that it’s a process that involves a lot of learning. People give you suggestions, you get feedback from the market, and you then make the product better. I didn’t initially realize how much the product would develop.

“What would you have done differently?”
I would have to say I would’ve had better communication from day one. I’m not a medical doctor and I don’t think we communicated with optometrists and ophthalmologists enough. When we entered this industry, we had a mission as tech guys to solve a real problem. So I would have had better communication with ODs and MDs to tell them what we want to accomplish. It’s something that really would’ve helped us along the way.

An advanced autorefractor, and specifically the SVOne, has substantially helped grow optometry practices and optical retail stores. Its portability, affordability, and clinically proven accuracy makes the SVOne an excellent addition to any practice or retail operation. If you’re interested in learning more about the SVOne autorefractor, request a demo for a more in-depth understanding of how the device works.

Get a new autorefractor - Smart Vision Labs

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Smart Vision Labs Releases Next Generation Wavefront Autorefractor

Smart Vision Labs Releases Next Generation Wavefront Autorefractor

New York, NY – July 27, 2017, Smart Vision Labs (https://www.smartvisionlabs.com/) announced today the release of their newest wavefront autorefractor in their SVOne series of digital diagnostic tools. The latest device incorporates advances in technology and the scientific algorithms which produce accurate and instantaneous results for doctors. The autorefractor has a 40% improvement in the precision of the refraction, is twice as fast returning results when compared to the previous version and requires minimal training. Additionally, the SVOne includes new hardware which eliminates most alignment issues.

Smart Vision Labs autorefractor technology has been validated by three different clinical studies which show the accuracy and effectiveness of the autorefractor in a number of different settings. The device is ideal in many situations including mobile optometry practices, nursing homes, school screenings, optical practices and any doctor who is looking for a cost-effective wavefront autorefractor. With a small footprint, this is an ideal product for locations with limited area and can easily be moved from room to room. One of the significant updates to the device has been a new stand which eliminates most alignment issues. The device can also be attached to a standard tripod for easier portability.

“The demand for our original wavefront autorefractors has been amazing and our customers asked us to continue the production of new devices”, said Yaopeng Zhou, Smart Vision Labs, CEO and Co-Founder. “After years of refinement and improvement, feedback from doctors and the optometric market, the current product offers mature presentation of our patented wavefront technology. There are no other wavefront devices which can compete with our product’s quality, price and accuracy.“

The device is ready to ship and can be purchased or leased directly from Smart Vision Labs. To schedule a demo, place an order or to get more information about the SVOne series of autorefractors contact sales@smartvisionlabs.com or call 212-796-6124. Smart Vision Labs will be attending Vision Expo West in September and showcasing the new autorefractor at their booth MS3034.

About Smart Vision Labs
Smart Vision Labs is making vision care less expensive, less complicated, and more accessible. Using the SVone Autorefractor doctors and optical stores can use the power of wavefront aberrometry to provide prescriptions for glasses in minutes. Their proprietary technology shrinks expensive, bulky equipment to a portable device that is adapted to both a stand alone autorefractor and a telemedicine platform. Smart Vision Labs aims to increase access to vision care by leveraging technology and innovation. Over 60,000 vision tests have been performed to date in 23 countries, including in partnership with numerous nonprofits and NGOs providing eye-care services to underserved populations here in the US, India, China, South America and Africa.


How to ensure a new technology implementation is successful - Smart Vision Labs

Four Factors to a Successful Enterprise Technology Implementation

Something that is revolutionary for the rest of the world may not necessarily be the best option for you or your organization. You may decide to buy a new machine to make better lenses, but it turns out it is not simple to use and the time wasted could have been spent on acquiring a new customer. The same thing can be said for new technologies and their implementation in an organization.

However, what people fail to realize is that the new technology implementation often fails because of the miscalculations of the organization. Technology is meant to aid people and complement their daily activities and it is only as good as the people using it. Smart Vision Labs has deduced four factors that contribute to the success of new technology and its enterprise adoption in an organization.

1 – Make Sure the Technology Solution Is Aligned with Your Company’s Plan and People

One way new technology can add value is by aligning it to company goals and objectives. Not only should it be a driver of profits and revenue, it should also benefit the people handling it as well. It should be simple enough to get the job done, achieve great results while making life easier for anyone interacting with it. That “anyone” could range from the CEO to the customer. By making sure that the technology is a good fit for your company, you essentially relieve yourself of many problems including time-consuming firefights, sunk cost, and a waste of resources- if and when the project fails.

One of our earlier clients is a great example of this idea. They have monthly revenue goals which their individual stores are budgeted to hit and their CEO drives this metric down to each individual team member. Our telemedicine platform fit their goals perfectly! The opticians and sales people using it found it effortlessly simple and we helped them increase their capture rate on an individual store level, which lead to even higher revenues and an ROI of 880%!

2 – Understand the Technology

Once you have verified that the technology will be a good fit for the company, it’s time to dive deeper and understand the technology. At this stage, the initial pilot is crucial to ensure its success. By working with the technology provider, the organization should be prepared for any initial uncertainty, commit to training, start identifying kinks in the system, and create processes for analysis and constant feedback. Working with the vendor is vital at this stage. The most innovative technology providers will work closely with the buyer to ensure that the implementation is successful, thus leading to a successful rollout.

One of our partners understood this concept and has excelled because of the time they took to embrace and understand the nooks and crannies of our technology. They launched a pilot and took steps to ensure that everything was recorded and every uncertainty accounted for. Feedback and collaboration worked out to make the implementation a complete success.

An Optical Industry Case Study

A company who has truly embraced technology is Mykita. Mykita is a German manufacturer of hand-crafted prescription frames and glasses. They use acetate, stainless steel, and a unique material called Mylon by employing a 3D printing process called Selective Laser Sintering. Technology is a core part of their design and their success shows it! Because of their design philosophy, they were profitable since their second year and are now in stores all over the world, including Washington DC and New York. Since their inception, they have racked up influencers like Tom Cruise, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie, who have embraced their tech savvy designs. This leads us to our next factor: have influencers for your technology.

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Stanley Tucci wearing Mykita Mylon in Transformers

3 – Have an Influencer on board

Mark Zuckerberg once said, “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” A new technology that aligns with the spirit of your company will go even further if it is trusted by the people of your company, and having a person or two to influence that trust is crucial. If it’s a new project based on the new technology, then it should be a strong project manager or leader who takes charge, is exploratory, collaborative, and open to feedback. Given that these people will be the main people communicating up and down the chain of leadership, they will have to command authority. That person will essentially ensure user participation to drive the goals and metrics and will be molding the minds of everyone in the organizations, including the people resisting to accept that the new technology aligns with the company and will drive value. The influencer has to be a truly innovative leader.

A great example of a Smart Vision Labs champion is Vlad from Modern Day Optx. Vlad is an independent optical owner. Even though he is not a part of a large organization, his activities are reminiscent of the points mentioned before. He has internalized all the nuances of our telemedicine solution, he communicates and provide ongoing feedback to improve our product, and makes sure his customers are comfortable with using the technology. He has been able to prove the utilitarian use of our device by vastly improving his capture rate and revenue for his optical store.

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Yelp review about Modern Day Optx

4 – Have Fun and be Personal

People are afraid of the unknown and of things they do not understand. Initially, new technology can be intimidating. The trick is to make the technology a personal piece of the lives of the people who are involved with it. Whether it be the CEO, middle-level management, or even the team member on the floor who is pushing to make the daily, weekly, and the monthly sales quota; having fun with the technology is a very important piece of the implementation process. Any company which grasps this factor should have a seamless rollout of the new technology.

How to truly have fun is a question of the organization’s personality. It needs to be worked out between the organization itself and the technology provider. It could be as simple as incentivizing the sales team with gifts when they accomplish a certain usage percentage, to more glamorous things such as throwing a lavish party when they decide to move from the pilot to full enterprise implementation. The end result should always be to inspire the users to embrace the technology.

At Smart Vision Labs, we try to go above and beyond in this category. From sending custom onesies to a partner who had a child, to being with our partners on the floor, celebrating accomplishments with them and making sure that they truly internalize the training; our work is complete when our partners are truly comfortable with our platform. We make sure the education, training, and implementation is a fun experience so everyone is happy to be a Smart Vision Labs optical partner.

An Optical Industry Case Study

Carl Zeiss shook lens manufacturing with their i.Terminal technology. They digitized the tedious and manual process of lens fitting and made the whole experience faster and more accurate. This has led to increased customer satisfaction and improved sales. But the technology has truly been pioneered because of the above mentioned four factors Zeiss had helped foster with their customers. They built a product that provided great value for their customers, the literature and support they provide during the implementation, along with the great customer service, ensured an easy adoption of the technology.

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i. Terminal by Carl Zeiss

A master grasp of these four factors will ensure your organization will have success with a new piece of technology. Effective implementation could be hampered if one or more of the factors are not accounted for. Make sure your team is an important part of the process; take your time to understand why problems happen, and make sure \you have fun when using the technology!

wavefront autorefractor demo - Smart Vision Labs

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The Essential Equipment Guide for a Modern Optometry Practice

Essential Equipment for a Modern Optometry Practice

The modern optometry practice is one that has the latest technological advancements, provides the best quality service, and produces a very convenient customer experience at an affordable price. No matter how many lanes you have in your practice, it all boils down to the doctor and the equipment the doctor utilizes. The doctor is hard to change and if you are not a customer centric doctor, then you will need to rethink your strategy. The equipment, however, will provide the best doctors with an increased ability to do an even better job further setting them apart from their competition. Here are the essential tools that your optometry practice could be use to achieve a higher threshold of success.

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Digital VA System

A digital VA chart is a very popular equipment in contemporary optometry practices and optical stores all over the U.S., and there is good reason why. A comprehensive digital VA chart squeezes in a lot of features and vastly diminishes the footprint in your business, with some even going as far as featuring a lens clarity visualizer tool. A good digital VA chart system will, along with a standard Snellen chart, allow you to randomize the letters, provide charts for different clinical situations including astigmatism, ETDRS, and even the ability to input the distance in between the patient and the screen.

em_screen
VA System by Harvest Acuity

Tonometer

A tonometer conducts eye pressure tests, but to the average person, this machine essentially is the one that blows the puff of air into their eyes. Optometrists, on the other hand, know how crucial this piece of equipment is. Tonometers have come a long way from the days of a schiotz tonometer. There are tonopens, which are the closest in terms of its reminiscence to a schiotz tonometer, an affordable option if you are looking to invest less capital for equipment. Along with that you also have the non-contact tonometers where the person rests their face for the procedure. Whatever equipment you decide to buy, this is essential for any optometry practice.

nt-510
Tonometer by Marco

Fundus Photography Equipment

Breaking it down simply, fundus photography equipment is used to take pictures of the inside of your eyes. Colloquially called a fundus camera, these imaging pieces of equipment are common for most ophthalmic equipment manufacturers and they usually take up a big footprint in your office because of the desktop based design of the equipment. However, in recent years a variety of inexpensive equipment options have come out. Ones that can be attached to a high-resolution digital camera or a camera in a smartphone for the retinal imaging. Although, the efficacy and accuracy of these more inexpensive alternatives are still debated.

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Welch Allen iExaminer

OCT Imaging Equipment

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) equipment is what is used for taking images of the retina. The advantage of this equipment is you can really dig deep into what problems the eyes can be having and even detect the early onset of various eye diseases and conditions. This is one piece of equipment that should be there in your practice if you decide to expand the medical scope of your practice.

An OCT Machine
OCT Machine

Autorefractors

An autorefractor is the optimal tool to measure the refractive index of the eye. Whether you have a full fledged practice with the most cutting edge ophthalmic instruments or a mobile optometry clinic, an autorefractor will ensure the most convenient customer service while maintaining a superlative standard of care. The best way to go is to purchase a handheld autorefractor. The Smart Vision Labs wavefront autorefractor is currently the most affordable and portable piece of optometry equipment, and there are clinical studies to validate the efficacy of the equipment on a variety of ages and populations.

An autorefractor is the best addition to have in your lane, along with your phoropter, because of the rapid throughput it provides. With the Smart Vision Labs autorefractor expect rapid results with incredible accuracy.

SVOne Enterprise from Smart Vision Labs

As your practice grows over time, you will be adding equipment slowly. An investment in the equipment becomes more than just a capital investment as it aids in providing a better user experience for the customer. A combination of these pieces of equipment will certainly make your practice stand out.

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New Study Demonstrates the Clinical Utility and Accuracy of the SVOne Autorefractor for Measuring Refractive Error

NEW YORK, NY — Smart Vision Labs, Inc., the maker of a smartphone-based autorefractor, announces the release of new data on its SVOne autorefractor being published in a leading peer-reviewed publication. In a study led by Kenneth J. Ciuffreda, OD, PhD, FAAO, FCOVD-A, FARVO, and Mark Rosenfield, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO, the smartphone-based SVOne aberrometer was shown to be comparable with subjective refraction and an office-based autorefractor when measuring refractive error under both cycloplegic and non-cycloplegic conditions in visually normal young adults. The researchers heralded the SVOne as valuable for examinations taking place both inside and outside the clinical setting.

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