Article Date: 8/1/2009

Enhance Your Examination
instrumental strategies

Enhance Your Examination

Optics, O.D. comfort and digital camera access make this device valuable.

J. SCOTT FLEMING, O.D.

Since its development in 1897, the slit lamp has become one of the most essential instruments in diagnostic eye care. For many years, however, the instrument went through little change in its design and technology. Due to recent technological advancements, we now have the opportunity to select a device that closely corresponds with our clinical goals. For me, this device is the SL-D2 Digital Ready Slit Lamp, from Topcon Medical Systems, Inc.

Here, I explain why.

Optics

The SL-D2 offers the following three magnifications: 10X, 16X and 25X. Having these magnification options facilitates my ability to determine the presence of external and internal ocular anomalies, if any.

In addition, the device's parallel drum magnification changer enables fast selection among these three magnifications, saving the patient and myself examination time.

Also, I greatly appreciate the SL-D2's halogen illumination. It's powerful and bright, yet I can easily adjust it via the rheostat, which is conveniently located next to the device's joystick. This allows me to examine my patients using an appropriate level of illumination, while keeping them comfortable, and, therefore compliant to keeping their eyes open.

Further, I can personalize the illumination level for successive visits by noting the illumination level at which the patient is comfortable — very convenient for me and impressive for patients.



SL-D2 Digital Ready Slit Lamp

HEIGHT: 17 inches

WIDTH: 17 inches

DEPTH: 14 inches

WEIGHT: 37.5 lbs

COST: $5,390

Practitioner comfort

In recognizing that diagnostic devices can not only cause physical strain on patients, but the practitioner as well, several diagnostic device manufacturers have begun creating more ergonomically friendly instruments than before for eyecare practitioners. I've found that Topcon Medical Systems Inc. is one of these manufacturers. This is because the SL-D2's parallel-convergence binocular has decreased my slit-lamp-related headaches and eye fatigue. This feature not only makes me more comfortable during an exam, but it also allows me to concentrate on the patient's well being by devoting all the necessary time to the exam without concerns for my comfort or position.

In addition, the clever location of the filter switch in the back of the illumination unit makes changing filters easy and effortless.

Optional camera

The SL-D2's ability to accept digital camera integration has also been beneficial, as it has facilitated patient education and documentation. I chose to attach Topcon's DC-3 Digital Camera to the device.

Built specifically for the SL-D series of slit lamps, the camera provides eight-mega-pixel imaging. Once I obtain photos, they are instantly transferred to my personal high-resolution monitor, so both myself and the patient can see them.

I find that by actually showing the patient a clear image of his eye(s), he develops a greater understanding about his anomaly and the importance of adhering to my recommended treatment(s). This is because the verbal explanation of an ocular anomaly is often difficult for patients to comprehend.

I store the patient images on the optional IMAGENet Digital System database (Topcon), which is a full-function imaging system for fast and efficient acquisition, storage, retrieval and image analysis.

I find that this helps increase patient loyalty because patients prefer to return for follow-up care to a practice that has their photo documentation history as opposed to one that does not.

The recent evolution of technology has enabled us to choose from an array of slit lamps, all of which offer several beneficial features. The SL-D2 should be at the top of your list, given its optics, practitioner comfort and ability to accept digital camera integration. OM


J. SCOTT FLEMING, O.D. IS A FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SOCIETY OF OPTOMETRY AND HAS A LARGE OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE IN TORRANCE, CALIF. E-MAIL HIM AT SCOTT@FLEMINGVISION.COM.

Optometric Management, Issue: August 2009