Article Date: 10/1/2006

instrumental strategies
Meet the Modern Eye Chart

This software puts a battery of tests at your fingertips.

JAY PETERSMA, O.D.

I'm frugal ... No, not cheap — frugal. Okay, I'm Dutch; it's genetic. I don't jump on every new, funky instrument that comes into the eye care arena, because quite frankly, many of them are gone in a few years, or gathering dust in the backs of offices. Nor do I buy something because it comes complete with a CPT code.

Clinical usefulness should drive instrument purchases, versus whether you can pay it off in X amount of time by billing out the procedure. While most of us don't consider our eye chart an instrument, name one tool that gets used in a larger percentage of office visits every year. You can't. Enter VisionScience Software's Acuity Pro software. Designed, programmed and distributed by two practicing O.D.s, it saves you time and helps you gather more accurate data.  

The Acuity Pro 7.0

COMPATIBILITY: Runs on any computer that has Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP
DUAL MONITOR COMPLIANT
PRICE: $1,349.00 first license, $499.00 for additional license

Free yourself

If you don't have a flat-screen eye chart, put it at the top of your list — no more blown bulbs in the middle of refraction. It also offers very good contrast and is always calibrated, with lots more options than the typical projector chart slide has. This includes the ability to randomize letters to prevent patient memorization, or to move quickly from one chart, such as HOTV, back to Snellen with one keystroke or remote click. These two features alone make the purchase worthwhile, as they not only save you time but increase the accuracy of your refraction, because it never goes out of focus. The device also includes Looney Tunes animation clips to use as distance fixation targets for testing children's retinoscopy and pathology photos for patient education.

Functions at your fingertips

The software runs off any Windows computer. We're destined to have PCs in our exam lanes in the future, and many of us already do. It's so easy to add a second monitor, mount it on the wall and install this software program. You can be up and running in 20 minutes after you connect the second screen to your PC. It only takes a few moments to become familiar with the program's operation. Install it one evening, play with it awhile and go live the next morning.

The program is quite intuitive and comes with a remote control to change the display, if you stand when performing refractions, or you can type a single keyboard key for a command. For example, type a "4" to configure a 20/40 line, "A" for astigmatic target and space bar for random letters. Ever get patients memorizing the chart? No more. The ability to randomize the letters or lines with a simple tap of the space bar puts an end to that.

Advanced features include the ability to add your own photos and videos for patient education. For real speed demons, there's a "macro" utility to combine keystrokes and "daisychain" exam sequences, saving even more time.

The future is flat

This eye chart is simple, effective and designed by docs like you and me who have to live with their own program every day. Tough combinations to beat, but whatever the program, get into the world of flat screen computerized eye charts right away. It's the most return you'll ever see for such a small investment.

DR. PETERSMA IS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE. HE'S ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AT THE IOWA OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION AND IS CO-OWNER OF FRESH STARTS, OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE START-UP CONSULTANTS.



Optometric Management, Issue: October 2006