Article Date: 2/1/2013

Worth a Thousand Words

Worth a Thousand Words

Understand the benefits of anterior segment photography.



How often do patients come in who require foreign body removal? Typically, you complete your exam then inform them that they have a foreign body that you will need to remove.

Imagine having the technology available to digitally capture an image of the foreign body on the cornea, record the actual procedure while you remove the foreign body, then show the patient once the procedure is completed. This not only makes the patient feel better when he/she leaves but also gives him/her a story to tell friends and family.

This is how technology can and should be used to set an optometric practice apart. It won’t take but a few of these patient encounters before you become the place to go for emergency eye care visits of any kind in your community.

Here are some of the benefits of anterior segment photography that should be considered when making a purchasing decision.

Fitting specialty contact lenses

Anterior segment photography and videography are great ways to quickly make any one of us an expert in fitting specialty contact lenses. Use a digital image to record the cornea-contact lens relationship for consultation, patient education or comparison of different fitting relationships. It is a tremendous time saver when fitting lenses to have anterior segment photography quickly accessible.

Educating patients

Think back to the last patient who came in with a corneal ulcer related to overwear of contact lenses. Many of these patients are in pain and know they need help. However, even after one serious occurrence like this, they do not understand or care to change their compliance routine, thereby placing themselves at risk of a second such occurrence.

Anterior segment photography is very valuable in the education of our patients regarding their condition, the seriousness of the condition and the need for better compliance. Research has shown that compliance with a doctor’s recommendation is closely related to the degree of trust the patient places in the doctor. “Seeing is believing” is as true a statement today as it ever was.

Patient perception

When reviewing technology for the optometric practice, always remember that the benefit is in the difference the technology makes in the mind of the patient. Our value to patients is not always what we think; it is in the perception of the patient. Always look for ways any new technology can increase the value of the practice in the mind of the patient as well as provide a ROI that can easily be measured.

Return on investment

The first way most of us initially evaluate ROI is to look at the code used to bill for the procedure when it is performed on a medical necessity patient . This is the easiest way to determine whether the investment pays for itself. In the case of anterior segment photography, the average reimbursement is $21.48, according to Practice Resource Management, Inc., an eyecare management and consulting program. (This varies depending on the part of the country you live in as well as by insurance company.)

If 10 patients per week were billed when justified, as described in the LCD by medical necessity, the revenue to the practice in a month would be roughly $860. That is more than enough revenue to cover a three-year lease payment, which is approximately $325 for most anterior segment camera systems. The ROI should be enough to convince you to invest in the technology. OM


Optometric Management, Issue: February 2013, page(s): 62