On Pace

The eyes have it. Wearable tech is migrating northwards from the wrist to the face, with new eyewear that serves up dual functionality with both vision protection (or correction) and health and wellness tracking.

Targeting athletes of all levels, Oakley and Intel have teamed up to create Radar Pace—real-time, voice-activated smart eyewear that acts as a coaching system.

Launched last month, Radar Pace is essentially a virtual coach that supports athletes during their running and cycling training, interpreting data in real time and providing personalized, actionable instruction and motivation during the course of a workout. A hands-free conversational interface is powered by Intel Real Speech, and a Bluetooth audio headset allows athletes to place and receive calls and texts and listen to music.

Bonus: This smart eyewear also features Oakley’s groundbreaking Prizm sun lens technology, which enhances detail and offers precise color tuning designed for specific environments.

In the Rx realm, VSP’s innovation lab, The Shop, has provided a sneak peek at Level, a wearable that serves up health, movement, and other bio-data tracking from a unit nestled in the temple of a lightweight, Rx-able optical frame. VSP is currently conducting a large pilot study of Level with the University of Southern California.

Radar Pace (shown) is made of two primary components: Oakley eyewear from Luxottica with integrated earbuds and microphone, and a mobile app for iOS and Android

Vision Tests, Anywhere

Is new refraction technology a boon for retail—or a threat to eye exams?

imagine this: A patient or customer walks into an optical to update their eyewear but leaves without a purchase because they don’t have a valid Rx or they can’t be seen by the on-site optometrist right away. Does this happen in your optical?

New refraction technology, built off of mobile autorefractors and telemedicine, is changing that.

Newest to the scene is SVOne Enterprise, a service that pairs autorefraction technology from Smart Vision Labs ( with a remote network of doctors to review refraction data and, when appropriate, fill eyeglass prescriptions.

“We consider it both a disruptive technology that will make people want to get their vision tested more frequently and a new telemedicine tool for eyecare professionals,” says Yaopeng Zhou, CEO of Smart Vision Labs. “For consumers, getting their vision tested can be as easy and simple as walking in and out of a store.”

Currently, SVOne Enterprise is being used in about a dozen New York City optical shops as well as a three-location optical in California.

“We see SVOne Enterprise becoming the new standard in vision testing and in the future expanding its presence in more settings, like offices, schools, shopping centers, and drugstores,” says Zhou.

SVOne Enterprise uses autorefractors and a remote network of eye docs to provide on-demand Rx’s


While new technology such as SVOne Enterprise may be a tool for opticians and practices to build business, some O.D.s remain critical. Their main concerns? That some on-demand refraction technology is being billed as an eye exam, and that consumers will not follow up with an O.D. for a comprehensive exam once they’ve got the Rx they wanted.

“The device manufacturers use messaging that appears to support safeguarding people’s eyes. However, best intentions alone do not safeguard our patients,” says Justin Bazan, O.D., owner of Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, NY. He, like many other O.D.s, has voiced concern about the tricky balance between advancing technology and protecting patients’ eye health.

“They are using this technology to provide people with spectacle Rx’s without verification that they have had comprehensive eyecare in accordance to our AOA guidelines. That lowers the standard of care and puts people at risk,” Dr. Bazan says.


SVOne Enterprise is just one of several on-demand refraction technologies that are making waves in the industry. Others include:

    EyeNetra has a connected mobile refraction kit consisting of its own smart-phone-powered autorefractor, portable phoropter, and autolensometer linked to an online EMR. O.D.s can use it in mobile eye clinics, mission work, workplace testing, schools, and testing kiosks. Eye-Netra’s Blink model allows a practice to provide at-home concierge vision testing.

    2020Now uses proprietary software and video conferencing with a COT to allow non-O.D. staff to perform guided objective and subjective refractions, vision analysis, and additional eye health exams. The data is transferred via EMR to the company’s remote board of ophthalmologists, who review the data and medical history, and return a prescription within minutes.
    Currently in some optical shops in New York City, it bills itself as a means to retain customers by providing on-demand eye exams, with or without an O.D. on premise.

—Susan Tarrant

The results, from SVOne Enterprise

Perspectives From Paris

the four-day Silmo Paris optical fair in September saw a blossoming business climate—and served up serious style—with 33,771 visitors (56.5% from abroad, as well as a 3.5% increase in attendees from the U.S.).

Brands embraced a wide and vibrant color palette as well as the “no-gender phenomenon,” noted in this year’s Trends by Silmo.

And what brands received top marks? The industry’s best in style/technical expertise came together for the Silmo d’Or awards. Winners included Blake Kuwahara’s Kahn in the optical category and Essilor’s OrCam MyEye device in the low vision category. Low vision was a key topic at this year’s show, alongside the trend of digitalization.

The 7th Silmo Academy boasted 425 participants over the three days of discussions on reading and sight. The Academy also featured its first award of a research grant to the IRIS neuroscience laboratory, within the French National Center for Scientific Research at Paris Descartes University.

Silmo will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, slated for Oct. 6-9, 2017.

Fun and colorful booths make for an engaging show floor

Bienvenue! Guests enter Silmo at the Parc des expositions de Paris-Nord Villepinte

Blake Kuwahara accepts a Silmo d’Or for the optical category

Trends on tap at Silmo

Pops of color: “Shades of natural brown and black remain safe bets, while bright hues reflect a desire to be different and imaginative,” states Trends by Silmo

Silmo 2016: 33,771 visitors from 122 countries