The launch of a new product that may become a familiar sight in public spaces, shops and possibly larger practices in the future is about to be introduced to the UK.
The "mySight kiosk" will be a valuable tool in engaging those who are currently reluctant to have eye examinations. The idea was conceived by Thomson and US entrepreneurs Lundy Fields and Bart Foster who developed a prototype system and wrote the software while SoloHealth in the States brought the EyeSite kiosk to market.
The unit is capable of a battery of vision and health screening functions and is currently available at over 2,000 outlets across the US.
For the UK launch, Thomson and Fields have completely re-engineered the system and software and it will be named the mySight kiosk. Main differences between the US and English version include a more contained design to increase privacy for the UK user and new software more appropriate for the UK viewer,( including a number plate test).
The kiosk will use use a touch-sensitive screen to present a sequence of history and symptoms type questions to assist in building a user profile. Near vision is then assessed via the screen before the user is directed to look through a viewing port above the screen. Using an innovative arrangement of mirrors, a second screen is seen at a real viewing distance of 3 metres allowing an assessment of distance acuity.
It is currently estimated that about 30 per cent of the public do NOT engage with any type of eye care services for a number of varying reasons.
The kiosk has the potential to engage this hidden patient base in a way that drives them to optometric practice. US figures suggest that around 1 per cent of shoppers in a busy store will undertake the test each day which is free to the user . An average of 65 people use each kiosk every day. Of these, around 5 per cent go on to book a full eye examination and this can be done directly via the screen at the end of the self assessment, with the practice or practices paying for the contract. The commercial opportunities do not stop there.
As the age and gender of the user is known after the test, the unit may display advertising or messages that are automatically tailored for that user group. The unit also has a screen on top which again can show advertising of particular products that create another revenue stream. The user is also able to create a Cloud-based account which allows them to view their results at home and maintain a history of the test results.
Look out for your local kiosk coming soon!