Google GLASS from an optometrist’s perspective

17 May 2013

You may have seen reports this week about the latest innovation from Google – Google Glass. Wikipedia describes Google Glass as a ‘wearable computer with a head-mounted display…which displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format.’

Users can take photos and film footage, access Google for reference information; translation services, maps, images etc, and share their experiences with other people in a similar way that Skype connects people, by simply speaking to the head-set which is worn like a pair of spectacles.

Search results are displayed directly in the upper right hand side of the user’s vision on, according to Google, ‘the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away’.

BBR Managing Director, optometrist Nick Rumney, writes; “I'm fascinated by the development of Google Glass, partly because of a professional interest and partly because of an interest in new technology and how it can better lives. The technology has been in use for many years in the military, most notably in head up cockpit displays in aircraft, so it’s not threatening to the eye, although it might be threatening to safety if one is looking at the screen when you step off the kerb! 

Like the other of-the-moment gadget, 3D and HD TV, there is little point in using high tech imaging if the eyes are not in focus. Google Glass, as far as I can see, requires the eye to be focused at optical infinity which means, if there is not room for wearing spectacles, there will be a lot more contact lens prescribing required.

In professional terms and relating the Google Glass to the potential benefits in eyecare, we already have a flood of developments in imaging and apps and there are some eye movement guided instruments that enable us to view the eye in detail and, more importantly, share the results with the patient and clinical colleagues using remote viewing stands to add yet another arrow to our bow of better eyecare.”

Find out more about Google Glass by reading this report from the BBCs technology editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, or visiting the official Google Glass website.


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