I’ve always been committed to investing in technology for my practice. If a technology will do any of the following, its been on my list of potential investments;
- Improve patient care
- Improve the patient experience
- Make data acquisition easier (for the patient and/or our practice)
- Allow us to offer more services to our patients
Over the years, we’ve purchased two corneal topographers, two visual field analyzer, two Retinal Thickness Analyzers, a state of the art refraction system (our 3D Wave and Total Refraction System), Electronic Medical Records and a corneal endothelial camera. Each of the technologies has either been and upgrade of existing technology or added a new technology to the benefit of our patients.
Our most recent addition is a Specular Microscope which images the corneal endothelium. The corneal endothelium is a single cell layer thick and has the job of controlling the moisture level in the cornea. If this layer fails, the cornea will become swollen and lose its clarity. We are born with approximately 4,000 corneal endothelial cells. We lose some of them as we go through life but if we lose too many of them, the cornea can decompensate and lose its clarity. There are several corneal degenerations which can accelerate this process, as can wearing contact lenses which transmit too little oxygen to the cornea.
We now screen every patient’s corneal endothelium to detect these dystrophies as well as any acceleration in cell loss due to contact lenses. If an abnormality is found, then a more detailed examination is performed so that we have even more information about the cornea and can perform change analysis over time.
We are also investigating a new retinal imaging system which will improve our ability to image the macula and optic nerve as well as providing more information about our patient’s eyes which we can use to not only detect but also monitor the progression of many different ocular diseases. Look for more information on this technology if it ends up meeting our requirements to add it to the practice.
John Warren, OD