Prattoy Bej, B.Optom, F. Optom

Adjunct Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi, India


With an increasing demand for automation, the world is going to be driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Like the shift from paperwork to Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems, the use of technology is steadily growing in the healthcare space as well as in vision care like using chatbots for information, augmented reality (AR) glasses, is becoming usual.

Basically, all these technology modifications are to improve patient experience and to fulfill patients’ needs. But in other ways it is easy to feel uncomfortable when AI is being compared with a human. Will AI in optometry really replace optometrists? Let us find out.

What is AI?

AI is a kind of technology which mimics or simulates human intelligence which is usually processed by computers or by machines through learning and discovery through data. AI is programmed to think like humans to make our life much easier by understanding what a person needs by analysing data with minimal human beings involved(1)

Roles of AI in Optometry:

In the world of vision sciences, AI is collecting and centralising patient data to provide more fruitful care and services. Use of this kind of technology is to increase the accuracy and speed of diagnostic procedures.

By analysing all the individuals’ medical data, AI helps to improve decision making as well as it helps to avoid errors. Unnecessary procedures, misdiagnosis can also be prevented; interpretation of appropriate tests to correctly refer in all the way makes the optometrist’s job easier.

In a practical scenario if a patient is having an extensive EMR with a very old history one can scan this information quickly, however the chances of missing something is always high. Alternatively, one can read line by line by spending a couple of hours. With the proper AI installed in EMR, the important data would be highlighted immediately. (2)

AI can help an optometrist to customise questions based on patient responses like follow-up questions to get the most important information.

Because of AI-facilitated remote consultations, patients from rural areas who otherwise do not have any access to clinics or right specialists are getting earlier disease detection and treatment and suggestions for better treatment options.

Can AI really replace Optometrists?

It is true that AI can help in giving a holistic diagnosis by integrating recently developed technologies and can also enhance the patient experience, but it is not at the expense of any professionals.

These specialised tools can complement the skills and experience of a practitioner. So, the practitioner can work more efficiently. (3)

The new generation patients prefer to go to a clinic which has advanced technology and receive a more personalised experience. It is quite safe to say that AI will not replace optometrists but the optometrist who uses AI will replace those who do not. (4)

Future of AI in Optometry

Not only AI has a potential to improve a lot in healthcare, but also it comes with limitations and ethical considerations. If anytime AI provides an inaccurate diagnosis by going through the symptoms the optometrist must review it and make a conclusion.

With the help of AI, we can improve refractive error diagnosis, vision screening, diagnostics, proper frame selection, etc. These can make our lives easier, and these can provide a quality experience to the patients.

So, never hesitate to adapt to new technologies, everything has its own pros and cons, but we must accept the changes and need to learn how these changes can make a good impact towards society.



  1. [Last accessed 15 Jan 10:00amAEDT]
  2. Ayatollahi H, Bath PA, Goodacre S. based versus computer-based records in the emergency department: Staff preferences, expectations, and concerns. Health Informatics Journal. 2009 Sep;15(3):199-211.
  3. Han JH. Artificial Intelligence in Eye Disease: Recent Developments, Applications, and Surveys. Diagnostics. 2022 Aug 10;12(8):1927.
  4. Struik MH, Koster F, Schuit AJ, Nugteren R, Veldwijk J, Lambooij MS. The preferences of users of electronic medical records in hospitals: quantifying the relative importance of barriers and facilitators of an innovation. Implementation Science. 2014 Dec;9(1):1-1.