Mapping out new technology to inform Optics of the future

4 March 2015

A project designed to look at the impact of technology on the entire optical sector has been commissioned by the Optical Confederation and the College of Optometrists and with joint funding from the Central (LOC) Fund. 

With an Oversight Group chaired by Alan Tinger, who originally proposed the project, the Foresight Project has commissioned the independent Think Tank 2020Health to undertake the underpinning research. Julia Manning, Chief Executive and founder of 2020Health, practiced as an optometrist for 19 years.

 “We are looking at four stages of research”, said Alan Tinger. “Phase 1 is looking at future technology (worldwide), and judging how certain it is to come to market, whether it will be adopted, how disruptive it will be and how behaviours of the public, professionals and manufacturers could change as a result. We will also be taking into account the changing demographic make-up of the UK which is a challenge for the whole of the health sector.

“Phase 2 is looking at the effect of phase 1 on business models in optics and the final two phases will look at the impact on education across the professions and on regulation.

“This is a very timely and important piece of work with online and mobile digital health technologies developing at an exponential rate. All innovation has the potential to be disruptive, so it is vital for us to understand the impact of developments on the sector, and in particular what they could mean for all the professional groups, plan ahead and make the findings available to the sector so that people can be as well informed as they can be about the possible future.

“The sector is indebted to the Central (LOC) Fund for its generosity in supporting the proposal and providing funding to get it off the ground.”

Julia Manning, said, “We are delighted to be working with the Optical Confederation, the College and the Central (LOC) Fund on this initiative. As a Think Tank we have spent some years looking at emerging digital technology and identifying disruptive and enabling technologies. Considering technological and behavioural trends and their impact on society and healthcare is something that every professional organisation should be doing.

“With our smartphones turning into diagnostic, testing and sensing devices, this era of technological development is being likened to the Gutenberg Press for its potential to emancipate consumers, and being dubbed the ‘second industrial revolution’ due to its impact on current ways of working. Professionals will need to adapt to very different ways of working but they, patients and health care systems and society should all benefit.”

Ends

Note to Editors

  1. For interviews, comment or further information please contact: Alan Tinger on 07976 842373, alan.tinger100@btinternet.com
  1. The 5 members of the Optical Confederation are:

            Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO)

            Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM)

            Association of Optometrists (AOP)

            Federation of (Ophthalmic & Dispensing) Opticians (FODO)

            Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO)

  1. 2020health is an independent, social enterprise think tank working to improve health through advice, research, campaigning, networking and relationships. We do not lobby on behalf of companies, organisations or individuals and retain editorial control of all our publications.
  1. The project Oversight Group (chaired by Alan Tinger) comprises the Chief Executives of the Optical Confederation members and of the College of Optometrists and the Chairman of the Optical Confederation.
  1. The £100,000 project has been 60% funded by the Central (LOC) Fund and 40% equally by the five members of the Optical Confederation and the College of Optometrists, and is due to last for 12 months.
  2. Alan Tinger is Chairman of the LOC Central Support Unit (LOCSU), a Director of the Federation of (Ophthalmic & Dispensing) Opticians (FODO) and a member of the Optical Confederation Leaders’ Group. He is also a Trustee, Treasurer and Chair of the Audit & Investment Committees of RNIB Group and a Trustee of Action for Blind People.