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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

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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Better Vision

Golf Lenses Guaranteed to Be a Hole in One

8 options that address the three factors patients want in their golf glasses.

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THREE FACTORS USUALLY come into play when patients are looking to buy golf glasses: “Their lenses to make a difference on the tee, to see their scorecard, and to track their ball down the fairway,” says Rob Curry at True Focus Eye Care in Port Richey, FL. As a result, lens makers provide ECPs with a number of options.

Liberty Sport

Switch H-wall Frames that come with interchangeable lenses in a two lens kit with a specific golf tint.

(800) 444-5010, libertysport.com

Oakley

The Oakley Prizm Dark Golf lens

(800) 403-7449, oakley.com

ImageWear

Callaway frame with fully Rx-able lens.

(800) 414-7656, walman.com

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Under Armour

The UA Tuned Golf lens features a proprietary tint formula for heightened contrast in bright conditions.

(516) 576-9100, eyeking.com

Scheyden Eyewear

Golf-specific CIA (Confidence in Action) sunglasses with fixed gear titanium frame and high definition dye-infused LT16 polyamide lens.

(800) 851-2758, scheyden.com

Maui Jim

Golf line with PolarizedPlus2 lenses, Guardrails polarized aviator sunglasses (shown).

(888) 666-5905, mauijim.com

Tifosi Optics

Swick sunglasses with Enliven Golf lens or an Rx option of golf/tennis tint.

(877) 530-0815, tifosioptics.com

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Shamir

Shamir Golf lens

(877) 514-8330, shamirlens.com

Smart Ways To Sell Golf Lenses

Tom Harrigan, J.C. Reiss Optician, Morristown, NJ

Our go-to golf lens is a Maui Jim sunglass lens. We’re a small independent optical that opened 127 years ago and I find Maui Jim helps level the playing field by doing everything for us. Being a golfer myself, I like certain lens colors for golf so I recommend a brown or a rose-colored lens which helps read the greens better than a flat, gray lens. Generally, sunglasses double as the patient’s golf lenses unless they want to buy a second pair, say, a dark gray lens for fishing. When patients come in we ask them about their hobbies. This opens the conversation to talking about golf and, since I know the game myself, I discuss my recommendations with them. In addition to selling Maui Jim for golf, we also sell some Liberty Sport Switch frames with golf-tinted lenses.

Rob Curry, True Focus Eye Care, Port Richey, FL

Our two doctors are golfers and have photos of themselves playing in their exam rooms, so golf often comes up in conversation with our patients. Most of our golfers want to be able to track the ball from the tee to where it lands on the green so they will buy a distance prescription and/or bifocal lens. We use the Tifosi frame and lens package more than any other. Its new Enliven Golf lens comes standard in the frame (in plano) and if the patient wants an RX they can get it in the GT tint (golf/tennis). We personally tested it on the course and the results were overwhelming. It’s a non-polarized, color enhancing, green lens that allows you to read the cut of the greens more clearly and vividly than any other golf lens.

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Better Vision

Ways to Protect Kids’ Eyes While Playing Sports

And smart ways to get their parents on board.

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IT’S ESTIMATED THAT 80 percent of eye damage occurs before 18 from exposure to solar UV radiation. As children play games, it’s necessary to protect their eyes from the sun and sport injuries. ECPs need to educate parents about the importance of protective eyewear for kids when participating in sports. For maximum protection and performance, Rx lenses ­— polycarbonate is preferred — can be inserted into a variety of sport-specific styles in a variety of youth sizes.

Wiley X

The Wiley X Youth Force line offers Rx-able eyewear for all types of sports.

(800) 776-7842, wileyx.com

Puma

Puma Junior Eyewear line.

(844) 790-9165, kering.com

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Oakley

The Rx Frogskins XS is especially engineered for young faces.

(800) 403-7449, oakley.com

Julbo

Little Heroes children’s line of Rx-able polarized lenses.

(800) 651-0833, julbousa.com

Nike Vision

The Nike Legend S, an 8-base sport wrap sunglass made with Max Optics.

(800) 645-1300, nikevision.com

Liberty Sport

The Sport Shift frame or goggle in the Patriot Collection has an RS 2.0 lens with FogBlok coating.

(800) 444-5010, libertysport.com

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Polaroid

Polaroid Kids sunglasses with polarized lenses for ages 4-12.

(800) 631-1188, safilo.com

Hilco

Rx-able swim goggle.

(800) 955-6544, hilcovision.com

Under Armour

The UA youth sunglasses with sport-specific Tuned technology designed specifically for baseball and golf.

(516) 576-9100, underarmour.com

Smart Ways To Sell Sports Eyewear to Kids

Audrey Nelson, VisionQuest Eyecare, Greenwood & Indianapolis, IN

We offer a range of sports sunglasses from Oakley’s youth line, sports goggles from Rec Specs and prescription swim goggles from Hilco. The most important thing our doctors discuss with patients is safety. For those kids needing active sunwear with or without prescription, the Oakley Prizm lenses are great. Only about 10 percent of kids who come into our practices wear a sport-specific goggle or eyewear so I think more education is needed for parents to understand that their children should have safety eyewear when playing sports. It also protects their children’s eyes from the sun.

Dr. Samuel Teske, The Eye Doctors New Tampa, Tampa, FL

We’re based in an area that is growing rapidly with a lot of young families moving in and getting their children involved in sports. I first make sure parents understand the importance of eye protection, especially in sports. The mother is generally the decision maker so I talk to her first to ensure she’s on board. I ask her “What sports are your kids playing?” “How active is the sport?” Depending on how aggressive the sport is, I determine if the child will need protective eyewear. Baseball, for example, is an active sport with a high rate of injury. I usually concentrate on those children who already have a prescription and choose ideal safety eyewear that can help prevent injury. I usually prescribe Rec Specs from Liberty Sport, which have an in-built shock absorber. I always pair them with a polycarbonate lens due to its shatter resistance and I like to prescribe Transitions lenses too.

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