This instrument is a shoo-in for
evaluating children. See why.
Philip M. Buscemi, O.D.
I recently found out that my
nephew and his wife are going to have a baby. I was delighted.
Then I started thinking about the hurdles that new parents face.
One that I immediately thought of was vision problems, especially amblyopia.
How often have you seen an
uncooperative, angry 2-year-old who you'd like to check for
significant anisometropia? How many times have you told parents,
"If we'd seen your daughter earlier, we would have had a
better chance of helping"?
A noble cause
Marco Ophthalmic sees the
PhotoScreener as an invaluable tool to help reduce the rate of
pediatric vision loss in the 1 in 20 kids who have sight-threatening
visual disorders. The instrument uses static retinos-copy to
record the light reflex from a child's pupils onto Polaroid film.
By rotating the slit-shaped strobe
90 degrees in two consecutive photos, you can use the shape and
position of the eyes' reflexes to determine the child's type of
refractive error. You can also diagnose opacities such as
cataracts in the optical media and can detect strabismus.
The American Optometric
Association says that all infants should be evaluated for visual
problems by an optometrist by 6 months of age or sooner if
abnormalities are present. But most O.D.s don't pursue these
young patients because they perceive them as being hard to
examine. They also feel that they tend to upset the flow of the
practice. Plus, these kids aren't likely to buy expensive glasses.
Ethically and morally you may want
to help, but the practical aspects make it difficult. Enter the
PhotoScreener, making a seemingly difficult task less complicated.
The PhotoScreener is perfect for
working with children.
How it works
The device has a simple-to-use
aiming light that projects two arrow-shaped tips pointing at each
other on to the child's forehead. A multi-colored flashing light
and optional sound keeps the child's attention. Push the button
and take the picture. Pop out the film and in a minute or so, you
have the developed picture.
The photograph will tell you if
the patient has a significant refractive error, strabismus or
cataracts. Because the PhotoScreener is designed for non-physicians,
your tech can easily perform the screening evaluation. You get a
qualitative instant diagnosis of the child's visual condition.
The PhotoScreener gives you a hard
copy to show parents. Explaining the meaning of the retinal
reflexes is easy, especially with the brochure that comes with
The PhotoScreener sells for about
$3,800 and comes with a hard case for transporting it to
The beauty of
When a parent compares his child's
picture to the one the PhotoScreener provides, you have instant
credibility. The first question isn't, "Where do we get
another opinion?" but, "How can you help my child?"
Also consider the medical and
legal benefits. The pictures leave no doubt about the patient's
condition. So if you find yourself in court, you have rock-solid
Benefiting the young
My wife teaches classes for new
moms at the local hospital. Because the women often bring their
older children, I'm thinking about having my wife use the
PhotoScreener to take pictures and bring them home to me for
analysis. This would provide a great service to her students and
serve as excellent public relations for our practice.
With just a little effort, the
PhotoScreener will pay for itself. And more importantly, you'll
provide a great service to the youngest members of your community.
For more information, call (800)
874-5274 or visit www.marcophotoscreener.com.
Dr. Buscemi has no direct
financial interest in Marco Ophthalmic or in the PhotoScreener.
However, in the full interest of disclosure, he sits on the board
of directors of Fortune Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary
of Nidek. He also has consulting contracts with Nidek. Marco is
one of Nidek's American distributors. You can reach him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please type "OM" in the subject
field and indicate the topic.
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2001