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The Latest in Low Vision Aids to Increase Independence

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The national eye institute estimates that by 2050 the number of people with visual impairment and blindness in the U.S. will double to 8 million. Low vision can result from a number of causes and can lead to depression in patients who struggle to read, write, watch TV, see distant objects or enjoy their hobbies. Often ophthalmologists will refer patients to low vision optometrists. These ECPs work with the patient to choose a device that allows them to perform routine daily activities and regain some lost independence. There are many aids to choose from including illuminated magnifiers, special tinted lenses for contrast, portable video magnifiers or wearable technology based on magnification. Now there’s even artificial computer vision programs that can verbalize information to a patient.  


Enhanced Vision

Mojo electronic monocular

(888) 811-3161 | enhancedvision.com 


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Eschenbach

Visolux Digital XL FHD portable video magnifier with interactive touch screen, speech output and camera.

(800) 487-5389 | eschenbach.com


Ocutech

VES Falcon autofocus bioptic telescope

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(800) 326-6460 | ocutech.com 


OrCam Technologies

MyEye 2 artificial vision device

(800) 713-3741 | orcam.com 


HIMS

GoVision PRO HD video magnifier

(888) 520-4467 | hims-inc.com 


Smart Ways to Sell Low Vision Aids

Dr. Tom Porter ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS, MO

Over my career, I estimate I’ve seen 35,000 low vision patients. Prior to a visit with me, I ask patients to make a note of what they can’t do and what they want to do with their current level of vision. I call these notes their visual goals. My clinical exam then addresses the power of the low vision aid they’ll need by looking at the duration of the task at hand and the level of working distance required to complete it. I view all low vision aids as tools and sometimes patients need to use multiple aids to solve the problem. I use virtually every manufacturer’s brand for one application or another. We still use a lot of illuminated hand-held and stand magnifiers, small video magnifiers, telescopic low vision aids that are hand-held or spectacle mounted and tinted lenses either as a slipover or custom prescription.

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Dr. Bryan Wolynski GLASSES ON FIRST, NEW YORK CITY

Every low vision patient is different and assisted technology is personal to that individual. After I get a referral from an ophthalmologist, I carry out a five-minute phone call with the patient. I want them to understand what low vision is all about and advise them not to get their hopes up too high. Many of them are depressed because their vision isn’t what it used to be. Once I explain what I can do for them, I find that sets us up for success. I carry out a goal-oriented exam where history taking is important and I concentrate on their goals. Do they want to read a newspaper, an email, or a book? I give them a packet that explains that the cost of these devices can range from $100s to $1,000s of dollars. Medicare should cover the cost but it doesn’t, so patients pay for themselves. I carry a range of daily living aids from high-powered magnification glasses to telescopes to head-worn devices. My favorites are Ocutech’s bioptics and OrCam’s wearable technology.

Carol Gilhawley is a contributing writer for INVISION.

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Better Vision

It’s Time to Think About Winterizing Those Eyes

Products that tackle the vision issues associated with cold weather sports and how to sell them.

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WHEN IT COMES TO a winter sport like hockey, patients can buy specialist sports gear for protection. But, for other winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, motocross and mountain biking, patients may prefer to wear a goggle or prescription sunglass in a wrap frame for maximum coverage. These days, lens technologies are so effective they can offer color enhancement on the slopes and highlight moguls in any conditions.

Bollé

Cobalt with polarized TNS lens.

(800) 423-3537, bolle.com

Wiley X

WX Wave Climate Control series with gloss demi/polarized emearald green mirror lens with an amber base.

(800) 776-7842, wileyx.com

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Pyramex

Venture Gear tactical line of ballistic-rated eyewear, the Brevard frame with Forest Gray lens.

(800) 736-8673, pyramexsafety.com

Scott Sports

SCOTT LCG Compact Goggle with light sensitive blue chrome lens.

(800) 292-5874, scott-sports.com

UAB | The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Tinted Helmet Visor

(205) 934-4011, uab.edu

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SPY Optic

SPY Legacy with a gold Spectra lens.

(800) 779-3937, spyoptic.com

SportRx

Prescription snow goggle insert that accommodates corrective lenses.

(888) 831-5817, sportrx.com

Smith Optics

4D MAG Goggle with ChromaPop Sun Red Mirror lens.

(888) 206-2995, smithoptics.com

Smart Ways To Sell Eyewear for Winter Sports

Rob Tavakoli, Sportrx, San Diego, CA

For us, eyewear for winter sports is a growing category. We design and manufacture our own prescription insert that fits into any ski goggle. We sell this complete insert mounted to an Rx lens direct to the consumer or through the 3Os channel. Smith sells an interesting concept with its optical ODS adapter system that fits inside a goggle and most brands manufacture goggles that fit over glasses. I think the Anon M4 Cylindrical goggle is the best. Fogging is constantly an issue for people in the winter, so we recommend putting a good anti-fog coating on an Rx insert. Color enhancing lenses, like ChromaPop from Smith and Prizm from Oakley, work like magic on the snow by offering clarity and contrast to skiers.

Chris Merciez, Envision, Boulder, CO

Our doctors are avid skiers, so they generally talk to the patient about skiing when they’re in the room with them. This is helpful and offers a seamless transition for us to get them what they need. Many of our patients see all types of sports eyewear when they’re on the slopes so they’re already aware of what they want when they come in. We stock all types of brands – Smith goggles, Zeal goggles, Maui Jim and Oakley. Zeal, Bollé and Smith have designed an insert that goes behind the ski goggle and Smith offers a turbo fan option to prevent fogging. If the patient doesn’t want a goggle, then they may like the idea of a prescription sunglass that works for both skiing and regular wear.

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Better Vision

EHR Systems Have More Enhancements Than Ever Before

Bells and whistles your paper charts definitely don’t possess.

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ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS have come a long way. First Insight’s EyeClinic Imaging consolidates patient data, images, and diagnostics into one cloud-based system. Similarly, FoxFire’s Image Management module collects diagnostic images directly into the EHR. Compulink’s Artificial Intelligence runs Advantage EHR which includes built-in chief complaints and ICD-10 coded diagnoses. ABB Optical integrated RevolutionEHR’s SmartFlow ordering technology. EHRs can also improve accounts receivable and help you run a more efficient practice.

Foxfire Systems Group

Foxfire EHR with Image Management

(800) 333-4176, foxfiresg.com

Compulink

Eyecare Advantage EHR

(800) 456- 4522, compulinkadvantage.com

DrChrono

iPad and iPhone EHR

(844) 569-8628, drchrono.com

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ABB Optical Group

Glimpse Mobile tracks business analytics.

(904) 503-9616 glimpselive.com

RevolutionEHR

RevolutionEHR with SmartFlow ordering technology

(877) 738-3471, revolutionehr.com

Weave

Weave Optometry for patient communications

(888) 579-5668, getweave.com

First Insight

MaximEyes EHR with Eye Clinic Imaging

(800) 920-1940, first-insight.com

Smart Ways To Use EHR Enhancements

Dr. Brian O’Donnell, New Era Eye Care, Shavertown, PA

I’m on my fourth EHR system since I changed my practice in 2012 to make it more efficient. Part of that process was to invest in a new EHR. After visiting VEE and interviewing vendors I went with Foxfire. They provided a feature I wanted — to be able to see recalls and identify certain patients for promotions. They also had a tremendous integration platform for image management and data analytics. I liked that they did billing in-house too. They have their own clearing house within the system that is outstanding. Both the practice management side and the medical side of the EHR system got upgrades recently and they went flawlessly. Since I started with Foxfire in 2014, the system has been overhauled many times. Each time they carry out training so we’re well prepared.

Dr. Brandon Chester, Chester Eye Center, Chillicothe, OH

We studied up before we transitioned to First Insight’s MaximEyes EHR in 2011. It puts everything at our disposal and lets us quickly look up patients and run different reports based on diagnoses. We were one of the first to adopt their cloud-based EyeClinic Imaging software when it came out in 2017. You can click a button to launch it from within the EHR system and view all images from a test result. Now we don’t have to scan as much data as we used to. Once we’re done with a test the image is saved to a patient’s file and we can pull it up on screen in the exam room and show our patients comparison pictures. First Insight does a good job staying on top of different Medicare requirements and the MIPS program is built into their EHR system.

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Better Vision

Teleoptometry Tools Redefining the Meaning of ‘Phoning it In’

With about 200 different telehealth models being run today, ECPs have to decide which tools, if any, add value to their services.

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OCULAR TELEHEALTH, WHICH delivers eyecare remotely through medical equipment and telecommunications technology, is a hot-button issue right now. The question of whether it can offer a viable alternative to an in-person comprehensive exam is being intensely debated. What’s driving its progress are rising health care expenses as compared to the lower costs and added convenience it offers to patients.

There are about 200 different telehealth models being run these days in the U.S. and abroad, says Vitor Pamplona, founder of EyeNetra, which enables its customers to build their own telehealth models. And they are all different and generally protective of their own way of doing business. “The beauty of the state of vision care today is that anyone can build their own fully functioning telehealth system, using state-of-the-art tools like EHR-enabled AI-based voice assistants, blockchain storage and crypto vision benefits all the way down to the most basic one-on-one patient coaching approaches,” Pamplona explains. “Software is cheap. Technology is cheap. The field is booming but in a very diverse and decentralized way.”

While some states, such as Indiana and Connecticut, prohibit ocular telehealth, the majority allow it. One of the fastest growing entrants is 20/20NOW, which has completed 78 installations of its Ocular Telehealth Solution and expects to complete 125 by year-end. “Optical retail has always embraced ocular telehealth,” says Chuck Scott, CEO of 20/20NOW. “We are now seeing a trend within private optometry to utilize ocular telehealth within their practice, primarily for practice expansion, revenue improvement and better work/life balance.”

Given an abundance of options, the challenge now facing ECPs is to decide which tools, if any, add value to their services.

Smart Vision Labs

SV One, a handheld, smartphone-based autorefractor.

(212) 796-6124, smartvisionlabs.com

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Digital Optometrics

DigitalOptometrics’ Teleoptometry

Eye Exam (877) 506-0002, digitaloptometrics.com

D-EYE

D-EYE’s Smartphone-based Retinal Imaging System

(401) 473-6323, d-eyecare.com

20/20NOW

Ocular Telehealth Solution

(844) 843-2020, for2020now.com

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RightEye

Tests called Functional Vision EyeQ, Brain Health EyeQ, Reading EyeQ and Sports Vision EyeQ.

(301) 979-7970, righteye.com

EyeNetra

Digital Lensometer

(617) 684-5680, eyenetra.com

Smart Ways To Use Teleoptometry Tools

Joseph Ianni, Swift Eyewear, Massena, NY

The option to find doctors locally was limited so we purchased hardware from DigitalOptometrics to provide eye exams. We book a 30-minute complete eye exam and the system can accommodate walk-ins too. It has proved to be an amazing solution and we’ve carried out hundreds of exams since we went live in January. Our technician carries out pre-tests and then we videoconference in a doctor who looks at the results and can control the phoropter remotely and then sends us a prescription electronically. Our patients love the seamless experience and they’re happy they don’t have to travel to see a doctor.

Brian Chou, OD, Revision Optometry San Diego, CA

These are interesting times as technology impacts the evolution of optometry. Many new forms of teleoptometry are startups and like all startups some will succeed and some will fail and some could even get their technology acquired. The alternative distributors of online glasses and contact lenses are focused on giving prescription renewals online. More ambitious technologies offer digital retinal imaging using AI to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. We used to think autorefractors were a threat and now we see optometrists embracing them in their practices to improve efficiency. 20/20NOW is an enterprising outfit that helps clinics and opticals by giving non-dilated eye exams to patients so they can get a prescription when the doctor is not present. Stanton Optical allows patients in all its offices to videoconference with a remote doctor. So, looking to the future, I do believe there’s an opportunity for ODs to use online screenings to drive patients to use their services.

Ericson Quintanilla, Greenleaf Optical Compton, CA

We use the SV One from Smart Vision Labs to get a prescription for patients who don’t have access to a doctor or the fee to see a doctor. For $40 we give them an eye exam and free readers. Letters from the device are transferred to my laptop, where I add comments and send an email to some doctors in New York. I normally get a prescription back from them within 10 minutes. The patient then buys their glasses and single vision lenses from us. I also work with an online insurance company, Patch, that allows me to use their vision benefits.

 

 

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