Delivering exceptional care to your patients while maintaining a profitable practice is no easy feat. There are always shiny new optometric technologies, but the price tags often put them out of reach. To help you manage your budget, we’ve gathered four portable, affordable eye care instruments that you might want to consider – whether you’re just starting out, need to replace old equipment, or have a mobile practice.
Portable Auto Refractor/Keratometer
According to Review of Ophthalmology, many eye care professionals find that using an autorefractor is quicker and easier than retinoscopy and baseline refraction. The reading still requires professional interpretation, but it’s a good starting point. Portable auto-refractors are less expensive and take up less space. Not only that, they broaden your patient usage, making it possible to measure patients who cannot hold their head up straight, remain still, or travel to the optometry office. If you make home visits or serve populations in nursing homes or hospitals, this tool can be an affordable, time-saving addition to your practice. Check out a demonstration of the Portable Auto Refractor/Keratometer.
Smartphone Digital Slit Lamp Adaptor
A conventional slit lamp camera is typically used for taking quality pictures of the eye. However, it’s expensive and usually immobile. Most ophthalmology clinics are equipped with slit lamp, but not all clinics are fortunate enough to have a high-quality anterior segment slit lamp camera. The smartphone adaptor offers a great inexpensive option. The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers a full tutorial. They point out, “Taking high quality photographs with your smartphone (e.g., iPhone) or tablet computer (e.g., iPad) comes down to three main factors: a) having a camera with at least 5 megapixels, b) creating the ideal lighting, and c) being able to steady your camera (either with an adapter or with your gifted ophthalmic surgical hands).”
Portable Handheld Tonometer
While traditional equipment to measure intraocular pressure required several separate mechanisms, handheld tonometry tools have synthesized much of this into one easy device. Patients prefer them too. Portable tonometers like iCare ic100, require no anesthetic drops or puffs of air to the eye. This device’s light-weight probe makes momentary contact with the cornea. Icare's proprietary algorithm coupled with state-of-the-art software allows the device to evaluate deceleration, contact time and other motion parameters of the probe when it touches the cornea. The portable tonometer also requires no specialized skills, which frees up time by having eye care staff perform the test. Watch a demonstration of the Icare ic100.
The Arclight ophthalmoscope provides a low-cost alternative to standard direct ophthalmoscopes. Originally designed to expand critically needed eye care services for poor countries, it’s a lightweight and affordable option for all eye care professionals. This instrument has a small direct ophthalmoscope at one end and a detachable otoscope at the other end. It weighs 18 grams, uses three LED light sources, and has a rechargeable battery powered by either an integrated solar panel or a USB port. The device has an adjustable lens slider with three different lenses. The device also incorporates a small color vision test, a near visual acuity chart, a ruler, and a pupil size gauge.
As technology continues to grow exponentially, there are countless eye care instruments coming to market. Make sure you stay on top of new innovations that can save you money and time, but most importantly, improve patient outcomes.