Over the last twenty years, the delivery of healthcare has changed significantly in many ways: from the conversations doctors have with their patients in the exam room, to how information is exchanged and delivered, and to how insurance companies have placed more of a financial burden on the patient. As a result, both healthcare providers and patients alike have had to learn how to adjust to these changing times.
Fortunately, these changing times also bring about significant improvements in the way we deliver healthcare. As optometrists, we specialize in the delivery of eye care. Like other healthcare specialties, our industry has seen much advancement in technology that allows us to provide a significantly higher level of care to our patients. We now have tools to help evaluate the eye in more detail, with more accuracy, and with more confidence to detect diseases than ever before.
Many of you likely have goals of eventually opening your own practice, and with that will come decisions regarding the equipment and technology that you will provide to your patients. We have done a lot of research and analysis on which instruments we feel allow us to deliver the very best eye care possible, detect and evaluate a wide variety of possible ocular pathology, and integrate systemic health education along with our ocular health recommendations.
At our practice, we utilize three unique technologies that allow us to perform a comprehensive eye exam with consistency, sophistication, and precision like never before. We call it a “Modern Eye Exam.”
One of the most important aspects of your eye exam includes a detailed evaluation of the fundus. Until recently, viewing the entire retina, optic nerve, and vasculature was only possible by dilating the pupils. We tell our patients that viewing the fundus with their eyes dilated, from our perspective, is like going down into a dark basement with a small flashlight and looking around. Wherever we point our light, that’s what we see.
The Optos Daytona captures a digital image of 80-90% of the entire inside of the eye. With this technology, we can inspect a wide-field view of almost the entire fundus. We explain that this technology is like walking down into that same basement and flipping on the overhead lights. While not a substitute for dilation, an Optos Daytona image is a valuable supplement to your comprehensive eye exam and can provide a baseline for following possibly threatening visual conditions. In addition, this imagery can be digitally stored in your patient’s record and compared from year to year.
In addition to the Optos Daytona, we utilize the optical coherence tomography (OCT) iWellness technology in our practice, developed by OptoVue. The OptoVue iWellness technology utilizes light to provide a detailed, high-resolution, cross-sectional image of the macula with a resolution of up to 5 microns (by comparison, a human hair is 150 microns thick!).
In particular, the OCT iWellness images can provide significant details about diseases that affect the macula, such as macular degeneration, macular holes, and macular edema. This device also measures the thickness of the ganglion cell complex and retinal nerve fiber layer. Changes in this tissue over time can suggest early glaucoma, and this imaging allows for the detection of very subtle differences year to year. If a patient appears to be at risk for any macular or optic nerve diseases, more in-depth and detailed imaging can also be completed as necessary.
Finally, we are one of the few practices in the country to utilize a new device for the early detection of diabetes called the ClearPath DS-120 by Freedom Meditech. Because diabetes is the fastest growing healthcare epidemic in America, early detection is crucial to not only preventing vision loss, but also preserving one’s overall health.
The Clearpath DS-120 works by measuring glucose byproducts in the human crystalline lens, which accumulate over our lifetime. High levels of this glucose byproduct in the lens can suggest a higher risk of developing diabetes. Early detection allows us to potentially identify those that may go on to develop the disease. This is a great way to integrate the importance of good systemic health and the impact that systemic diseases can have on the eyes and vision.
These are just a few of the new technologies that we now have at our disposal. The ability to detect eye diseases much sooner is critical to ensuring patients continue to have a lifetime of clear vision and healthy eyes. These are changing times; but with the changing times comes powerful new tools to help ensure that we can give, and patients receive, the most comprehensive, modern eye exam possible.
The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of NBEO®
We’ve put together a ton of great tips and tricks for studying for Part I of NBEO along with two tailored study programs that will help you thoroughly prepare for the big day. Remember, you’ve made it this far and you can totally do this!
Some of the Top 15 Tips include:
- Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format
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