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New England College of Optometry Provides Aira Access Services to Patients and Visitors

New England College of Optometry, NECO, is committed to investigating, testing, and utilizing new technologies as they develop throughout our College and Clinics. In working to further provide access for individuals with vision impairment, we are pleased to announce that NECO and the NECO Center for Eye Care are now providing Aira Access to patients and visitors for instant access to visual information. NECO will serve as the first optometry college and clinic in the United States to provide Aira service for free, on-demand visual assistance.

Aira is a service created by a San Diego start-up that connects an Explorer, an individual who is blind or has low vision, with a certified, sighted Aria Agent to receive real-time descriptions of visual information through the use of a smart phone or wearable technology. Aira blends Artificial Intelligence (AI) and augmented reality to provide remote access (RA) to individuals who are blind or low vision, creating Artifical Intelligence Remote Access (Aira). An Explorer connects to a trained Agent or AI voice assistant “Chloe” by pushing a button on the Aira App and using a live camera stream or Aira’s Horizon smart glasses. The Agent or AI assistant can augment the camera stream with maps, GPS, and information from the web to provide a deeper level of assistance. This real-time communication and access to information helps Explorers navigate locations, complete tasks, and enhance their experience by delivering visual information on demand.

The area of low vision is one in which entrepreneurs and innovators have been aggressively pursuing new technologies to remove barriers and improve access. At The Janet LaBreck Center for Low Vision at the NECO Center for Eye Care, doctors work closely with patients with visual impairment to maximize function at home, work, and in everyday life. By providing the Aira service to our patients and visitors, NECO is working to maximize the experience of access and function at our college and clinic.

Nicole Ross, OD, MSc, FAAO, Associate Professor and Attending Optometrist at NECO Center for Eye Care, explains, "Aira is an innovative approach to way finding and creating accessible spaces in our community. We look forward to the opportunity to explore how Aira can enhance a patient's quality of life and their patient care experience at the clinic." Upon entering the College or Clinic, those with the app receive a notification that the location is Aira enabled and can connect to an Agent. Agents can assist patients at the NECO Center for Eye Care with tasks such as wayfinding, filling out forms, and selecting frames while helping to increase mobility and independence.

New England College of Optometry remains committed to continuously working on improved access to services while optimizing the experience for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Visitors and patients at the College and clinic who have the app will be able to access the service for no charge while visiting our campus and clinics.

New England College of Optometry, NECO, is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. The oldest continuously operating school of optometry in the country, NECO currently enrolls over 500 students in its four-year Doctor of Optometry, Accelerated Optometric Degree Program, international, and graduate programs. Originally founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences.
NECO’s location in the heart of Boston’s medical community, combined with the most expansive clinical network of any optometry school in the country, creates the optimum environment for educating students as members of patient-centered healthcare teams. For more information, please visit the college website at

The New England College of Optometry (NECO) Center for Eye Care is the clinical affiliate of new includes two comprehensive vision centers that clinical affiliates of New England College of Optometry. The two centers, at Commonwealth Ave and Roslindale, provide comprehensive center for eye and vision care services to individuals at all stages of life. As an academic vision center, our skilled doctors work alongside optometric students to provide world-class eye care within a state-of-the-art environment. The NECO Center for Eye Care seeks to always protect, preserve, and maximize vision and eye health through expertise and compassionate care. Services include primary eye care, cornea and contact lenses, vision therapy, pediatric eye care, low vision rehabilitation, and a myopia control clinic.

Aira is a service that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to connect people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. At the touch of a button, Aira delivers instant access to information, enhancing everyday efficiency, engagement, and independence. To learn more, visit

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