Monday, June 28, 2010

Does new equipment impress you?

There are so many pieces of equipment these days in the eye care field. The Vision West Expo rents out hundred of booths to vendors. Many of these vendors are touting diagnostic equipment. The question I have is this: Does it impress you? I'm not talking about the doctors, any doctor who has purchased a piece of diagnostic equipment has felt impressed by what it can do. In some cases we get outright giddy over being able to see the retina with super detail or analyze a visual field in ninety seconds but I am sure that you, the patient just wants to know what it means to you and your vision.

But does it impress you? When you see a giant white machine that sounds like an aircraft carrier taking off does it make you think, "Wow, I this thing is so neat! My doctor has the greatest diagnostic equipment in the world. He can take care of my eyes because he took this picture of my eye?"

My thought is that in some cases the answer is yes. In other cases it depends on the doctor and how the instrument is explained. If it is done in your language, "What does this mean to me and my vision?" rather than too much focus on spectral domain and the nerve fiber layer then it can give a good impression.

So, let me know what you think. Does the equipment impress you or does it make us look like we are compensating for something else?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunglasses that are responsive.

I came across an interesting new product today, responsive sunglasses. This is a little different than Transitions. They are in fact branded by Transitions but it ads a twist. Instead of going clear inside they remain tinted. Thus, these glasses are intended to be used as an outdoor pair. However, unlike a regular sunglass, which is the same in all light conditions, these will adjust to the brightness of the light.

This makes the sunglasses far more functional. They now give enough light to work well in cloudy conditions and get dark enough to cut out the glare in bright conditions. I was amazed to learn about this and think it is a great idea. If that doesn't make it good enough, the lenses are polarized too.

They have a great website that you can check out. It includes demos and shows applications of the SolFX lens. Transitions

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When a deductible is evil.

I had a patient come into the office recently who is at risk for glaucoma. She has a grandmother with glaucoma and when I look at her eyes she has signs on her optic nerve that indicate risk for glaucoma. So, when I finish the exam I take some time to explain to her the need for a GDx, a laser scan that will help determine if there are changes to her nerve fiber layer. The response I get is that she doesn't want to do anything that costs money because she hasn't met her deductible.

The risks involved are explained and the need for close follow up outlined. Glaucoma causes blindness, there are often no symptoms involved and any vision damage is reversible. Her response was that she would come in if she got sick and met her $2500 deductible. Glaucoma is sickness.

Why would someone take the risk. There are some medical decisions that a person can take that are reversible but damage from glaucoma is not. The best approach to glaucoma is to catch it early and watch it close to prevent vision loss. As one of the leading causes of blindness it should not be taken lightly, especially if the reason for observing glaucoma is a high deductible.

I hope for those listening that you will consider the advice of your doctor. If you can't afford custom rims on your new car, fine you can put off something like that. If your doctor tells you to get a test cause you could go blind don't be a penny pincher.

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