One of the questions ocular health practitioners ask about Ultra-widefield retinal imaging (UWF™) is about optomap acceptance rates. Will patients really be interested in a new and possibly unfamiliar diagnostic procedure that’s not covered by insurance? It’s the right question, because even a proven technique such as UWF is of limited clinical value if patients are reluctant to authorize the procedure.
Many doctors using UWF imaging report high optomap acceptance rates, leading to improved patient experience, better patient flow, and faster recovery of initial system costs. They’ve accomplished this by engaging their patients on a number of levels.
Explaining the Benefits
One common practice among doctors reporting high acceptance rates is that they take the time to explain to their patients the real medical benefits from incorporating an optomap into their annual examination. While comfort and convenience are also patient considerations, having an engaged and properly trained staff that can explain the medical benefits before, during, and after the exam is more impactful. As one doctor said:
“Explaining the tests you are performing, including high-level testing like optomap, that come with an out-of-pocket expense, need not add significant time to pre-testing. For that small amount of time and effort, …
As the longer, sunny days of summer approach, many people pull a pair of beat-up, dusty sunglasses out of the side pocket of their car door and start wearing them while driving or spending time outdoors. The problem? If you think you’re doing everything you can to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, you may be making a big mistake.
UV Rays – A Year-round Fact of Life
Most people have heard or read that long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays increases the risk of developing a variety of eye-related health problems. Cancer and benign growths on the eye (pterygium, also known as surfer’s eye or farmer’s eye) is associated with increased UV exposure, but of bigger concern are cataracts, which are found in 30 percent of those aged 70 to 74 years of age, and in more than 50 percent of those over 80. UV radiation is known to contribute to the protein breakdown that helps cause cataracts and impaired vision.
But less well understood is the fact that we’re exposed to UV radiation all year-long.
Ultra-widefield retinal imaging (UWF™) is helping to identify retinal pathology that could have prognostic value in estimating the risk of some systematic diseases.
A topic of continuing interest in the health community is the use of retinal pathology to predict the risk of systematic diseases such as Alzheimer’s. If retinal pathology with significant prognostic value can be identified and this pathology can be quickly and reliably characterized, there’s the prospect for better and more cost-effective health screening on both an individual and community level. Multi-modal ultra-widefield imaging is beginning to be applied to research efforts that are exploring these correlations in greater detail.
About UWF Retinal Imaging
Ultra-widefield retinal imaging is performed by a specially designed scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO) that generates a high-resolution digital image covering 200 degrees (or about 82 percent) of the retina. By comparison, conventional 7 standard field (7SF) ETDRS and fundus camera photographs produce a relatively narrow view (75 degrees or less) of the center-portion of the retina.
The SLO simultaneously scans the retina using two low-power lasers (red – 633 nm and green – 532 nm) that enable high-resolution, color imaging of retinal substructures. The resulting UWF digital image – optomap – is produced …
As the July 4th holiday approaches, the nighttime skies around the U.S. begin to light-up with amateur fireworks – a kind of opening act for the professional exhibitions to come. What the pretty lights hide is that these do-it-yourself shows are truly hazardous, sending as many as 10,000 people a year to emergency rooms. The vast majority of these admissions take place during the months of June and July.
Inherent Dangers – Painful Injuries
Amateur fireworks are inherently dangerous – the simple act of using them creates hazards for both users and those nearby. Some findings from a 2014 Consumer Product Safety Commission report make this point again and again:
— Fireworks malfunctions – tip-overs, errant flight paths, early ignitions – account for an estimated 26% of injuries. (In one possible malfunction, the report cites a 14 year-old who suffered severe head trauma when a launch tube exploded. He died after nine days in the hospital.)
— Another 13% of injuries had as their root cause that the victim was too close.
— So called “safe” fireworks like sparklers and bottle rockets accounted for 15% of injuries.