Article Date: 11/1/2006

instrumental strategies
Liven Up Your Acuity Routine

Technology brings freshness, accuracy and ease to vision testing.

BETH A. WORKMAN, O.D.

With all the new technology available, it seems optometrists often overlook computer-based visual acuity systems when considering equipment to improve our practices. However, we perform visual acuities on everyone and refractions occupy a large portion of the time we spend with patients. Any purchase that will make this process easier and more accurate is money well-spent.

I was the stereotypical hard sell. I saw no need to change a system that worked for 25 years. However, a company representative persuaded me to try the Stimuli Acuity system on a trial basis. Six years later, I can't imagine being without it. It makes testing more efficient and reliable by preventing the patient from memorizing the chart. It has also sparked a new enthusiasm for me in examining patients. I didn't recognize how tired I was of hearing patients read the same lines. And patients are confident that they're really seeing the letters and not just remembering what they've read before.

Stimuli Acuity System

DIMENSIONS: 17" X 16.5" X 7"
TESTS: Charts include a multi-line, graduated, single-line with moveable pointer, single-column charts with isolation, red/green filter, astigmatic dial with controllable indicator, sizable 4-dot, low contrast sensitivity, fixation test on black or white screen; video capability for fixation and education.

Includes an Apple iMac computer.

Custom testing

Developed by Accommodata Corp. and marketed by Haag-Streit, the Stimuli Acuity System includes an Apple iMac computer with built-in, two-inch deep, flat-panel monitor, software and a remote control. The system offers choices for pediatric and adult optotypes and display options.

There's no stopping to change a slide, just press a button. You can present optotypes in standard Snellen or logMAR progressions. Display features include crowding bars, isolation and an on-screen pointer. The extra lines (20/125, 20/160, 20/250, 20/320) and the ability to change the letters instead of just presenting a large "E" allow more precision in measuring decreased acuity. You can program selected portions of the chart into memory for quick access. The system also features cartoons and video support for patient education.

No-fuss set up and operation

The companies will program the system to your specifications and calibrate it to your refraction distance. You can place the flat-panel monitor on a shelf or mount it directly on the wall. It requires no wires to hook-up. Simply plug it in and begin to use it. You can use it in mirror rooms as well as for indirect viewing. 

The only maintenance the system has required so far was a change of batteries in the small, lightweight remote, which is designed for one-hand operation. It leaves my other hand free for additional tests. I recently obtained a second unit for another exam room. The new unit's features include a faster CPU, glow-in-the-dark remote, low-contrast testing and expanded help screens. A pure digital signal to the monitor guarantees highest resolution.

If easily increasing accuracy and efficiency are important to you, consider purchasing the Stimuli. You won't be disappointed.

DR. WORKMAN IS IN IN PRIVATE PRACTICE IN LORAIN, OHIO. SHE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE OHIO STATE BOARD OF OPTOMETRY. CONTACT HER AT (440) 282-6669.



Optometric Management, Issue: November 2006