Article Date: 12/1/2008

Help Patients View the World in High Definition
Tech Connection

Help Patients View the World in High Definition

Offering patients customized spectacles created specifically for them will boost patient satisfaction and your bottom line.

By Thomas Phillips, OD
Warminster, Pa.

AS NEW PRACTITIONERS, we're all looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from the competition. With all of the new technology that's available to us, it's hard to determine what device or piece of equipment to implement first in a fledgling practice. I asked myself and my partner, Nathan Csonka, OD, what technology would be most beneficial to patients and the bottom line of a new optometric practice.

Ideal Technology

We both agreed that the Z-View Aberrometer (Ophthonix, San Diego) is just that technology. The Z-View Aberrometer is a tabletop instrument that enables you to use wavefront technology to analyze distorted light pathways. You can formulate findings from the data you collect to develop a highly specific correction that produces a unique, proprietary spectacle lens, called the iZon lens, for each patient.

The aberrometer discerns higher-order aberrations by passing a safe, lower-power light through the eye and measuring the distortion of the reflected wavefront that returns from the retina and exits the cornea. It also can capture lower-order aberrations of the patient's eye, much like a traditional auto-refractor. Higher-order aberrations can account for up to 20% of a patient's total refractive profile. When these aberrations aren't accounted for, patients can experience a lack of crispness and clarity in their vision. Once it's determined that a patient is a good candidate for iZon lenses, the lens can be manufactured to address vision problems associated with the aberrations. Patients affected by higher-order aberrations represent a sizeable population. For example, over 90% of all myopic patients have levels of higher-order aberrations that can cause some vision distortion.

The iZon spectacle lens is a high-resolution customized lens that provides patients with sharper visual acuity, improved night-driving vision, better low and intermediate contrast, the ability to see colors with greater richness and intensity and better vision in dim and low-light conditions.

Benefits of the Z-View

The Z-View Aberrometer requires very little training for you and your staff. And it's not cost prohibitive. The technology is $10,000, which comes to $225 per month if you lease it for 5 years. At that price, even the newest of practices can afford to provide this service to patients.

The instrument also can help you do the following:

Decrease data collection time. You or your technicians can explain how the aberrometer works and perform the test in less than 2 minutes.

Increase patient referrals. You'll see a boost in referrals and patient loyalty because most practices don't yet offer this service. Satisfied patients will discuss the technology with family members and friends, who may seek out your services.

Boost your bottom line. By offering iZon lenses to patients who would benefit from the technology, you'll increase your net profit. You can raise your net profit per patient with a progressive lens by $213 compared to traditional progressive lenses. nOD

Dr. Phillips is a 1986 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He's president of The Eye Care Center, home to The Advanced Dry Eye Institute. His group practice is located in Warminster, Pa. He lectures frequently on current contact lens topics and how to implement new technologies in diagnosing and managing retinal pathologies. You can reach him at tsphillips@drthomasphillips.com, or visit his practice Web site at myeyesaredry.com.


Optometric Management, Issue: December 2008