I never realized how important optometric technology actually was until I attended this years Vision Expo West. I’ve been in practice with Dr. Eric White for only 3 months but the one lesson I’ve learned is that patients love technology. It helps us keep our schedule booked with happy patients, and keeps revenue increasing. When technology is used correctly, is a great investment. The instruments and equipment I use every day keeps my job exciting and keeps my patients excited for their annual exam.
4 Reasons You Must Understand Technology as an Optometry Student
1. Optometry’s medical side is becoming stronger
This means you will be utilizing more and more technology for the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. Sure you can capitalize on medical reimbursements without technology, but not as much as your competitor who has the fundus camera, OCT and VEP! Plus, the practice with the technology will find it eaiser to diagnose disease more so than the practice without instruments. So if you want to bill medical insurance procedural codes, make money, and give your patients the best care, then you better understand the new instrumentation that is available.
If you don’t want to lose a few patients, you need to be able to explain the latest and greatest in your field. Just because you don’t have a fundus camera or OCT doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be talking about what it is that these instruments do. Back in school I used to talk about equipment that we didn’t have in a particular clinic. Patients liked to know that if they had a problem, we had specific instrumentation available that would be able to diagnose them. Just because the equipment is not in your office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring it up to the patient. Talking about it is an easy way to let your patients know how smart you are and the quality care you can provide. If they needed a test, you would order the test at a different clinic and see them back with the results. Just because you don’t have it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be talking about how much you know about it!
3. Patients like gadgets and gizmos
I should film the expressions on my patients faces when they see when they see their OCT images for the first time! They can’t believe how advanced our diagnostic equipment actually is. They leave feeling so happy about their healthy eyes, and they would never go anywhere without that standard of care. Every year, our practice brings on at least one new piece of equipment, small or large. It allows us to bring in a certain demographic and builds a loyal following.
4. Understanding technology keeps you a relevant eye doctor
Technological equipment is just a scalpel that allows you to cut smaller and smaller pieces and look in greater and greater detail. The deeper you go, the more you find. As we go deeper we learn more about the eye, its anatomy and physiology, and how to treat its diseases. Keeping on your game is easy when you are learning about the latest and greatest eye care equipment. For example, we just purchased the Clear Path DS120 which measures glycosolated end products on the crystalline lens. This investment has already helped me learn more about diabetes and systemic nutrition – it gave me a reason to expand my knowledge and experience to new areas.
5 Ways Vision Expo Keeps You Up To Date With Technology
1. It’s all around you.
There are hundreds of exhibitors at Vision Expo and a good portion of them are technology-oriented. Whether it’s frame and lens technology or diagnostic equipment, Vision Expo is your one-stop-shop. If you don’t do it at vision expo, you better start looking in magazines and doing Google searches! Really there is no better place than Vision Expo for the latest and greatest.
2. Reps explain everything so well!
Nobody explains a product better than the sales rep. Their introduction to a piece of a equipment helps you understand how it works and the purpose it serves. I would rather build a relationship with a sales rep, sit back and listen to them talk and have them answer my questions, rather than go online and read a wall of marketing materials.
Where else can you sit as a patient or act as the doctor on over 1,000 pieces of equipment? Want to try the new Optos Daytona from the doctors perspective? Want to click around the new Uprise EMR? Want to try on some Gunnar Frames with HD computer lenses? Well you can’t do any of that sitting on your butt at home! Vision Expo is hands-on all the way and this makes the experience extremely valuable!
4. Show discounts – buy it for cheap!
We purchased a few items for our practice, Complete Family Vision Care in San Diego, while at Vision Expo West this year. Did you know that we got exclusive show pricing on every item? Money is a big part of the equation, so why not just buy at Vision Expo and save a nice chunk of change?
5. You can ask other ODs their opinions.
As myself and Dr. Eric White were strolling around, we were at a few booths and were glad to give advice on some of the diagnostic equipment that we personally use or the frames we sell. Many potential buyers asked our opinions on the Cirrus OCT and Clearpath DS120. Also, we asked a few doctors their opinions on a new EMR. With hundreds of doctors attending Vision Expo shows, it is easy to tap into the knowledge of your fellow optometrists.
5 Ways To Get Involved With The Technology At Vision Expo
1. Network with sales reps.
Learning about 20 different pieces of equipment would be painstaking on your own time, but the sales reps at vision expo are angels from heaven. It is so easy to learn the main points about an instrument and also learn about the coding and billing that is essential to its use. Also, networking with the local reps is an amazing way to put your name out into the community and build your reputation. After all it’s the sales reps that know what is going on at local practices in your community! Getting on their good side is helpful when finding jobs!
2. Test out the equipment for yourself.
Learning the basic functioning of the different instruments by testing it on yourself is so essential. You force yourself to learn something new, expand your knowledge, and you will develop a taste for your type of practice. People favor different instruments and you should spend the time figuring out what you like now so that down the road you can make a better decision.
3. Find out prices as well as lease and finance options.
Business lessons are something we often skim over. Participating in the financial discussion at Vision Expo is key to developing your where-with-all in optometry. Get an idea of what things actually cost and what companies recommend you should charge per test. How can you ever know how to run a financially-sound practice without knowing what your overhead on technology is? Trust me, figure this stuff out now, because when you start working, your boss is going to be too busy to teach you these simple lessons.
4. Learn how to code and bill properly.
There are no excuses for not knowing how to bill punctal plugs or OCTs! It is a tricky topic, but who better to explain some of the basics than the technology reps at Vision Expo? These lessons are valuable for success in practice so learn them while you are a student and get ahead of the pack.
5. Learn as much as you can so you can teach your patients.
Like I said before, patients like to hear about the latest and greatest in technology. Just because you might not have a Clear Path DS-120 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell your patients that your profession uses it! Talking the talk shows you area smart doctor who is up-to-date on the the cutting edge of the profession.
The Latest Technology at Eye2 Zone at Vision Expo
Vision Expo is not messing around with the technology! This year at Vision Expo East and West they launched the Vision Monday Eye² Zone which showcased vision-related technologies from 12 different exhibitors. Each product was given a live demonstration and technology presentations. Attendees like myself got to meet directly with representatives from each of the manufacturers and to interact with the products. Courtney Muller of Reed Exhibitions told Vision Monday, “Eye² Zone features some of the most innovative products on the market. It’s a great way to see how vision will function as a foundation for emerging technology. Your patients trust you to guide and advise them on these products and Vision Expo is the only place to gain that comprehensive knowledge.”
Some of the products displayed at the event were…
- i/o Recon Ski Goggles by Smith Optics — Awesome ski and snowboard goggles with GPS and Bluetooth heads-up display.
- Mind Booster PSiO 1.1 by PSiO — A relaxation tool that utilizes sound and colored rhythmic lights to enable focus, quieting any internal dialogue and enabling a higher state of awareness. Consider it a new form of meditation!
- Pivothead Video Eyewear — Allows for true point-of-view hands-free image capturing. Glasses feature HD video, 8MP Sony CMOS Image Sensor for crisp still images, auto scene adjustment, wind-resistant audio recording, up to 16-shot rapid burst still photos, 8GB internal memory capacity, micro USB connector, interchangeable 100 percent UV A/B/C blocking lenses, and more.
- Sportiii by 4iii — Provides the performance feedback you need without distracting from your activity. Color LEDs and voice prompts guide you to personal targets preset with the 4iiii app for heart rate, speed, cadence and power. Now you can focus on your goals: from a personal best to a podium position. Stay in the zone and stay safe, with your eyes on the road ahead.
- Z3 GPS MOD Live Ski Goggles by Zeal Optics — Features include anti-fog lens infused lens process, impact-resistant frame technology, 100 percent UV protection, helmet compatibility and polarized automatic lens. MOD LIVE GPS System is Bluetooth enabled and allows for tracking speed, altitude, GPS, jump stats, temperature, distance, run, count, and chrono. Widescreen in-goggle display is ideal for smartphone connectivity to view caller ID, text messages, buddy tracking, trail maps, and navigation.
- 3D Glasses by Boson — Boson manufactures 3D eyewear and entertainment objects. When viewing a 3DTV at home or a 3D movie at the cinema, you will quickly see why they call them Hi-Def 3D glasses.
- Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System by Second Sight — The world’s first approved device intended to restore some functional vision for people suffering from blindness. Argus II is approved for use in the United States and the European Economic Area.
- iOptik by Innovega — This product improves normal vision using contact lenses that make it possible to view virtual and augmented reality images, just like how you and I view the real world.
- cinemizer by Carl Zeiss — The cinemizer OLED projects a 40-inch image onto the eyeglasses – and therefore creates a theater atmosphere combining a three-dimensional movie experience with brilliant image quality and outstanding stereo sound.
- Crystalline Lens by Gunnar Optiks — These glasses are famous for enhancing and optimizing visual performance for anyone viewing computers or digital screens.
- eSight by eSight Corp.— A wearing low vision device that allows for a high-resolution video camera and a bright, high-contrast, “virtual” display for each eye to maximize the ability of a patients remaining eyesight.
- Epiphany Eyewear by Vergence labs — Stylish “smart glasses” equipped with HD video and audio recording, HD live streaming, and electrochromic lenses
Check out this video showing some of the products listed above!
Want to know more about the technology and my personal experience? Ask my a question below in the comments or follow my eye care blog from my practice in San Diego, Complete Family Vision Care!