Article Date: 8/1/2006

instrumental strategies
Take Refraction Automatic

These power tools will lighten your practice load.

JOHN C. DERICKSON, O.D., M.B.A.

As much as I enjoy practicing optometry, I enjoy my hobby of carpentry even more. When my wife and I bought an unfinished home, I don't know if I was more excited by the prospect of projects or by the opportunity to buy really cool power tools to complete them. You see, while I love to build, I will not hand-turn a screw, let alone cut a board or drive a nail. Good power tools save so much time and allow for such precision, it makes no sense to build things without them.

So it's strange that it took me so long to discover automated optometric equipment. I never realized how much time I wasted with standard manual refraction devices. The time required to set-up preliminary lenses, dial in pupillary distances and change chart projector views may seem insignificant, but when repeated 25 times per day, 200 days per year, the chair time really adds up.

The Velo Complete Refraction System

DIMENSIONS: 8 ft. X 8 ft.
POWER SOURCE: 110 volt
INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES: Compatible with electronic medical records software such as OfficeMate and Compulink.
COST: Starting at $12,995.00

Automation is my friend

When I built my new office recently, I integrated all of the latest technology. I traded in my old manual equipment for the Burton Velo Complete Refraction System; it's comprised of the company's 2000 Chart Projector, 8500 Auto Motor Driven Refractor, 186 UV Lens Analyzer and 2010 Auto Refractor/Keratometer. I soon realized that time savings was only the beginning. The improved image it gave my practice instilled a new level of confidence among the patients and staff. More importantly, the perception is justified by the accuracy and reliability of the refraction system. It features auto and manual focus targets with position indicator and multiple charts for better accommodative control.

As for autorefractors, before purchasing the Velo 2010 Auto Refractor/Keratometer as part of the system, I was never impressed with their accuracy. In my experience, I couldn't rely on them to consistently eliminate accommodation. In fact, when I first considered going automated, I went to Vision Expo East to shop the equipment. Using my wife as a patient, who at that time was two years post-LASIK with a +0.25D distance prescription, I tried every auto refractor at the show. She tested anywhere from -0.50D all the way up to -1.50D on one of the most expensive machines! This auto refractor/keratometer, one of the least expensive instruments, was the only one that nailed the refraction.

Making life easier

While three days at Vision Expo was certainly not a scientific analysis of the other instruments, after having this auto refractor/keratometer in my office for seven months, I'm still impressed by its consistent accuracy. It has allowed me to turn over refraction services to my technical staff. And it's allowed me to increase my patient volume; initially, I saw an extra patient each hour. Now, with three exam rooms fitted with this refracting system, we're continuously increasing our patients per hour. I anticipate ultimately tripling my patients per day from my dinosaur days of manual refracting. Plus, I get to play with really cool optometric power tools!

DR. DERICKSON IS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE IN JACKSONVILLE. CONTACT HIM AT (904) 997-8585.



Optometric Management, Issue: August 2006