Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Ph.D.
CEO, Vision Science Academy, London, U.K.
Vision Science Academy Exclusive
In the preceding decade, we have witnessed the universal expansion of information technology (IT) which has dramatically altered the infrastructure of healthcare. With the development of novel and advanced models of internet technology, we are now at the verge of an immense breakthrough which promises to unleash its positive impact on every facet of our private and interpersonal lives.
Considering the recent launch of 5G technology and anticipating the inauguration of 6G in near future never fails to astonish our minds. As compared to its predecessors, the 5G tech possesses a significantly higher capacity and diminished latency. In contrast to the 70ms latency of 4G, the data latency reduces to 1ms for 5G whereas it is expected to be even lower than 1µs when using the 6G. While 5G has provided an internet speed equivalent to 20-fold of 4G, the 6G is expected to be even 100 times faster than its immediate precursor (What is 6G? How is it different from 5G?). It is also being predicted that the advent of 6G would usher a more energy-efficient tech era. In addition, 6G will potentially boost our understanding and execution of applications pertinent to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) (Li et al., 2021).
What does this mean for Eyecare?
The healthcare profession has been tremendously modernised by IT where telehealth is helping the medical experts provide all sorts of health-related assistance to their clients remotely. This has ultimately improved the availability of clinical opinion to individuals who are incapable of travelling to the developed areas to seek healthcare. Besides cutting short the overall waiting periods and travel expenses, this endeavour is also expected to alleviate the deprivation of remotely isolated individuals.
In the area of visual health, screening tools run by advanced AI algorithms are being implemented which may allow optometrists, ophthalmologists, and vision science professionals to conduct remote testing of visual acuity, visual field, and colour and contrast sensitivity. Moreover, remote eye tracking technology can be utilised to track ocular movements. For a centralised screening network to operate most effectively, the overall capacity and speed of the internet connectivity serve as the main drivers of an accurate data transmission. By using progressively advanced networks such as 5G or 6G, one can expect to obtain a rapid access to the central command for receiving important updates so as to ensure a standardised delivery of cost-effective eye care (Ali et al., 2021).
The Timeline for 6G Technology
The timeline before the 6G mobile tech is completely rolled out is being anticipated to follow a course similar to the 5G. More than a decade was spent in the transition from 2G to 5G and the latter technology is only expected to be implemented worldwide by the mid of the 2020s. Currently, 6G is being marked to reach the industrial IT sectors by as early as 2030 (Routray & Mohanty, 2019). Therefore, its widespread application in the global eyecare could possibly require the greater proportion of the upcoming decade.
Although the technological design may be costly and complicated, remote eye care powered by 6G can essentially become the norm in both the urban and rural settings.
Ali, Q., Heldal, I., Helgesen, C. G., Krumina, G., & Tvedt, M. N. (2021). Technologies supporting vision screening: a protocol for a scoping review. BMJ Open, 11(9), e050819. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050819
Li, J. O., Liu, H., Ting, D. S. J., Jeon, S., Chan, R. V. P., Kim, J. E., Sim, D. A., Thomas, P. B. M., Lin, H., Chen, Y., Sakomoto, T.,
Loewenstein, A., Lam, D. S. C., Pasquale, L. R., Wong, T. Y., Lam, L. A., & Ting, D. S. W. (2021). Digital technology,
tele-medicine and artificial intelligence in ophthalmology: A global perspective. Prog Retin Eye Res, 82, 100900.
Routray, S., & Mohanty, S. (2019). Why 6G?
What is 6G? How is it different from 5G? RantCell. https://www.rantcell.com/how-is-6g-mobile-network-different-from-5g.html