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Tuesday / July 16.
HomemiequipmentMust-Have Technology

Must-Have Technology

Optical Manufacturers (OMF) are one of the leaders in the supply of high-tech optical equipment in Australia. mivision visited OMF Business Manager Lee Pepper and his team to find out about the latest must-have equipment for the modern optometrist.

“My passion is to make technology relevant to the clinical needs of the optometrist,” says Lee Pepper, who practised as an optometrist before he made the move to OMF seven years ago.

“Having been an optometrist myself before coming to OMF, I actually understand things from our customers’ perspective… I know what is important for the optometrist and their patients. I also understand their concerns when it comes to value for money, as the purchase of new technology does not usually come cheap… So OMF also offers optometrists advice so that they can afford to purchase the latest equipment and offer a superior service to patients, but also make a profit.”

The environment at OMF is friendly and unpretentious, probably due to the fact that the team genuinely love working there. Everyone mivision spoke to seemed to have the same feeling; that working at OMF is like being part of a family. The crew consists of salespeople, product specialists, service technicians, consultants and business managers, most of whom have been at the company for over five years. So when we ask Lee and the team about the latest must-have technology, we are confident in their forecasts…

As an optometrist, I couldn’t practice now without an OCT. The first OCT was introduced a few years ago, but even since then it has improved

Must-Haves

OMF sources the majority of their equipment from Topcon, a Japanese company which manufactures some of the highest quality optometric equipment worldwide. “Another of the great things about Topcon is that they like to work very closely with us. They are constantly seeking feedback from us about their equipment so that they can better their products. I have the privilege of being one of the few people in the world who can report to them not only from the distribution side, but also from an optometric perspective,” says Lee.

“Everything we sell is the best quality technology coming out of Japan, Europe and America. This equipment is all specifically ordered and manufactured for the progression of the optometric profession.”

The New OCT

The team at OMF all agree, the Topcon 3D OCT-2000 is the must-have equipment for the optometrist.

This OCT (optical coherence tomograph) has a built-in retinal camera and is the only one of its kind in Australia. It also has a compare function which allows the optometrist to compare side-by-side images as well as displaying the differential map of thickness using “PinPoint registration” technology which locates and highlights the smallest of details. This enables the optometrist, for example, to directly visualise the effectiveness of treatment of glaucoma.

The Topcon 3D OCT-2000 uses ‘TrueMap’ software which represents the true anatomical structure of the retina and displays a 3D graphic. Combined with the PinPoint Registration, the marked point can be reviewed any time in the 3D scan, 2D scan, fundus image or in the thickness map.

“In other words, when an optometrist examines the patient, they have a screen with a three dimensional view of the back of the eye with resolution so high that you can see each individual cell,” explains Lee.

“When I graduated from university, the only way to see the back of the eye was through an ophthalmoscope and this was like viewing a room through a keyhole. You didn’t see much at one time, it was bright and uncomfortable for the patient, plus it involved face-to-face contact which can make a patient uncomfortable.

“With the 3D OCT-2000, you not only get a clear, 3D view, but you can also pinpoint any part at the back of the eye you want to see. This enables the optometrist to see any early damage to the macular, which is very important today as monitoring macular change is something we are very big on in the optical industry.”

“A few years ago, the optometrist used to say, ‘I don’t need the OCT as it is equipment for the ophthalmologist’, but the optometrist has to realise they need this equipment as they are the primary eye care source in the chain.

“As an optometrist, I couldn’t practice now without an OCT. The first OCT was introduced a few years ago, but even since then it has improved; it now uses spectral domain technology which makes readings immediate in combination with the essential integration of the retinal camera. This means that now an optometrist can look at a real-life image of the back of the eye and can rotate in 3D and harness the power of the software to track changes. It is really quite remarkable.”

According to OMF Product Specialist Paulina Roncevic, while retinal cameras were popular up until 2009, now OCTs are on the increase. “Finally, optometrists are seeing the benefit in going to the next level by adding this new, technologically superior layer to their consultation,” said Paulina.

Lee predicts this year, the OCT with the retinal camera, will be one of the biggest sellers on the market, and by ODMA.2011, every optometrist will either have either purchased one, or will be in the process of purchasing one.

“As the sale of stand-alone retinal cameras dwindles, the technology-minded optometrists will start to realise the benefit of the OCT. Now that the OCT is cheaper, more compact and technologically superior, more optometrists will realise this is the technology of the future and something they need to offer a superior service.”

Mpod and Viteyes

“The Mpod (Macular Pigment Optical Densitometer) is a unique new piece of equipment for the optometrist,” says Paulina. “It is the first affordable and portable machine to measure the macular pigment. This is relevant as people in general, as well as optometrists, are so much more aware of macular degeneration (MD) now.

Lee expands: “The Mpod analyses the macular pigment and alerts the optometrist to low level pigment, which is a precursor to macular degeneration.

“The Mpod allows us to assess the major risk factors for MD, which previously we have not been able to do effectively. In short, we now have the mechanism to pre-screen for MD”.

“MD is a problem in our country, more prevalent than ever before, so we need to know about the early risk factors.”

The natural progression of this early diagnosis of MD is treatment and prevention. Hence, OMF now supply vitamins called ‘Viteyes’ to enable optometrists to treat low level macular pigment in patients without the need for a therapeutic licence. These will only be available for distribution through optometrists and ophthalmologists.

“Viteyes contains zeaxanthin (macular pigment),” says Lee. “When an optometrist tests a patient using the Mpod and discovers they have a low level pigment, the optometrist can recommend appropriate supplementation to raise the levels.”

Smart Chart

Another new product from OMF that has been extremely popular is the Smart Chart. This is a digitalised eye chart which is displayed on a medical grade LCD monitor. The main advantage of this product is that the eye chart images are randomised so it prevents patients from memorising the letters. “There is no way I would work in a practice nowadays without one of these. It also looks high tech and impressive to the patients, which is always a good way to differentiate yourself.”

Coming Soon…

OMF has a brand-new product that has just received TGA approval. It’s called the Adeno Detector.

Lee says that with a simple test, the optometrist can take a swab of the eye and the Adeno Detector will tell them if there is a viral infection. “This is a big step forward for optometrists, because it means that even if they aren’t therapeutically licenced, they can do this test and give the ophthalmologist or MD specific instructions.”

The other new instrument that has just hit the OMF shelves is the ‘Gallilei’, “the most overwhelmingly informative piece of equipment about the front of the eye and cornea,” says Lee.

He says many optometrists think this device is only geared to an ophthalmologist but he disagrees; “this product is the future for optometrists. Particularly for an optom who is a contact lens specialist.

“The Gallilei will be a necessary device in the future. It uses high resolution dual Scheimpflug imaging. It gives you more information about the cornea than anything else on the market and morphological information about the shape of the eye, which will be useful for contact lenses, orthokeratology and monitoring of corneal conditions such as keratoconus.”