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FILE: Will Artificial Intelligence change the optics and eyewear industry?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a driving force for transformation in many industry sectors, and optical and eyewear is no exception. As the world of eye health evolves at an accelerating pace, there is growing evidence that AI could fundamentally change the way we perceive, treat and correct our vision problems. How is AI interfering in the field of optics and eyewear and how does it risk reshaping the entire sector? While AI in optics raises critical questions, let's dive into the details to understand how it is already revolutionizing the way we see the world.

Artificial Intelligence already at the service of Optics and Eyewear

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence in the optics and eyewear sector marks a significant evolution within a traditional industry, and fiercely subject to innovative work. AI brings innovations that transcend practices and standards established for decades.

  • Customization of lenses and frames

One of the areas where AI brings real added value is the personalization of lenses and frames. Opticians have never been better equipped to meet the specific needs of each customer. Using AI, they can now collect detailed data on the physiological characteristics and aesthetic preferences of each individual.

Imagine a customer entering an optical store. Instead of simply asking for visual corrections, the optician uses a 3D scanner to obtain an accurate image of the shape of the face, measuring key points such as inter-pupillary distance, curvature of the nose, and position of the ears. . This data is then analyzed by an AI system, which recommends the most suitable lenses and frames in terms of comfort, aesthetics and performance.

The result? Glasses that appear to be tailor-made for each individual, improving customer experience and satisfaction. AI not only helps meet customers' visual needs, but also creates unique frames that reflect their personal style.

When asked about AI lens enhancement, global leader EssilorLuxottica has offered the beginning of an answer with its Varilux XR Series lenses. Thanks to 60 years of data recorded since the creation of Varilux lenses (wearer data, wearing tests, behavioral measurements), the possibilities for improvement and personalization are boosted. The glassmaker presented several "levels of customization": XR Design, which is based on a predictive model, XR Track, which integrates wearing parameters and near vision behavior and XR Pro, which also takes into account the dominant eye .

  • Lens design optimization

AI in optics and eyewear is also the development of research and development around the design of lenses . Corrective lenses must compensate for a wide range of vision defects, such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. AI provides the ability to model lenses with unprecedented precision. Machine learning algorithms can analyze data from millions of prescriptions, creating lenses that perform better, minimize optical aberrations and provide better visual quality. Additionally, lenses can be tailored to the wearer's specific activities, such as night driving or using computer screens, through increased customization.

The benefits are clear: glasses that offer clearer and more comfortable vision, reducing eye fatigue and improving wearers' quality of life. This is testament to how AI is raising the standard in vision correction.

Bollé 's Volt+ and Phantom Court lenses were designed using Artificial Intelligence in its EPIC laboratory in Lyon . Researchers used it to sort millions of combinations of lens formulas in order to improve color contrast and make their lenses specific to each use.

  • Early detection of eye pathologies

One of the most promising areas of AI application in optics is the early detection of ocular pathologies . Eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy , glaucoma , and macular degeneration , can cause irreparable damage if not diagnosed in time. AI provides a valuable solution to this problem by enabling early and accurate detection.

AI systems are capable of analyzing high-resolution retinal images to identify the first signs of these diseases. Algorithms can spot anomalies that would be difficult to detect with the naked eye, enabling early intervention that can prevent serious consequences or even vision loss.

This advance is a real game-changer for the eye health. Opticians and ophthalmologists can work hand-in-hand with AI systems to ensure regular screening for eye diseases, providing peace of mind to patients and helping to reduce the prevalence of these conditions.
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A necessary evolution of the legislative framework to regulate AI in optics and eyewear

The deployment of AI in optical and eyewear is an exciting phenomenon, but it comes with major regulatory challenges. Government authorities and regulatory bodies must adapt to this new technological era to ensure the safety, effectiveness and ethics of AI in this field.

  • Certification of medical devices

One of the key areas of regulation in the use of AI in optics and eyewear concerns medical devices . AI systems used for the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases are considered medical devices and are therefore subject to strict regulations. Health authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Europe, and similar bodies in other parts of the world, impose safety certifications and standards rigorous to guarantee the effectiveness and safety of these devices. Researchers and companies must comply with these regulations before bringing their products to market.

These regulations aim to protect patient health and ensure that AI-based devices meet safety standards. medical quality. It is a crucial step in ensuring that AI is an asset to eye health professionals and does not pose risks to patients.

  • Privacy and data protection

The use of AI in optics often involves the collection and processing of personal data, such as retinal images, medical information and personal preferences. This raises privacy and data security concerns. Data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, impose strict restrictions on the collection, storage and use of this data. Companies that integrate AI into their services must comply with these regulations to avoid significant financial penalties and protect the privacy of their customers.

It is therefore essential to put security mechanisms in place robust policies to protect patient data, ensure that consents are collected appropriately, and ensure that information is used only for legitimate medical purposes.

  • Legal liability

Another major challenge lies in determining liability in the event of an AI system error. Laws are evolving to determine who is responsible for harm caused by an AI device, whether it is an optician, the device manufacturer, or other parties involved.

The The question of legal liability becomes particularly complex when AI is used for the diagnosis of eye diseases. If an AI system misses a serious condition, who is held responsible? The healthcare professional who used the system? The designer of the AI? The regulations must specify the responsibilities of each actor to guarantee a fair distribution of responsibility in the event of an error. This regulatory evolution is essential to enable optical professionals to use AI with confidence, while protecting the rights of patients and customers.

In conclusion, the evolution of the framework legislative is a key step in the successful integration of AI in the optics-eyewear sector. Regulations ensure the safety, quality and ethics of AI use while clarifying responsibilities in the event of errors. This helps create an environment where AI can truly improve vision health and customer experience, while maintaining high standards of eye care.

So, what are the challenges and prospects for AI in optics and eyewear?

We have understood that the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the optical sector brings with it a certain number of issues which deserve particular attention, both on the side of researchers as well as opticians, main resellers of optical products. In a world that is evolving, and within a sector that does not wish to miss this evolution, the challenges are numerous.

First of all, the reliability of the approach must be ensured. When AI is used in the health or construction sectors and it has consequences linked to the safety of goods and people, it must be of infallible precision. Researchers and developers must work to ensure that AI systems do not make costly diagnostic errors, because patients' visual health depends on them.

The question of legal liability in the event error of an AI system is complex. Researchers must ensure that systems are designed in such a way that they can identify the source of any errors. Opticians and health professionals must also be aware of their responsibility when using these technologies.

The issue of ethics and data protection is perhaps the most debated , in any case which worries the most, AI collecting enormous quantities of personal data. Researchers must ensure that this data is processed ethically and in compliance with applicable regulations.

A question will of course arise regarding the training of opticians and other professionals in the optical sector . They will have to acquire new skills which will require continuing training and adaptation to new technologies, another challenge for the sector.

As with every technological development, AI will allow new companies to penetrate the market by offering automated optical services. Traditional opticians will have to face fiercer competition and adapt to remain competitive. The strengthening and evolution of competition will profoundly reshuffle the cards within a sector which has many players and whose skills are sometimes transversal.

Concerning the cost of their implementation, the AI systems, especially those intended for medical diagnosis, may require significant investments in hardware and software. Opticians will need to carefully evaluate these costs and potential benefits before adopting these technologies.

Accessibility will be key. How can we ensure that AI in optics and eyewear remains accessible to everyone, regardless of the place of residence or income level of patients? Researchers and opticians must ensure that AI does not lead to an increase in costs which would exclude certain populations, at the risk of becoming a vector of inequalities.

Finally, a certain evolution of roles could be to be expected. Opticians, for example, could be more involved in managing AI systems, advising customers on the use of these technologies and communicating diagnostic results.

Ultimately, The impact of AI on opticians and manufacturers will largely depend on how these issues are managed. Collaboration between researchers, vision health professionals and regulators will be crucial to ensure that AI actually improves eye care quality and customer satisfaction, while addressing ethical and legal concerns. For researchers, it's about meeting technical and ethical challenges, while for opticians, it's about adapting to a constantly evolving professional landscape while maintaining a high level of care and service at the same time. customer base.