Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, A Look into the Female Gaze

Sponsored by Prevent Blindness, April is recognized as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month.  This observance is designed to educate women about the steps they can take to help stop vision loss.

April is deemed Women’s Eye and Safety Month to educate women about taking the proper steps today, to help preserve their vision in the future.  “Healthy vision is something we often take for granted until it starts to slip away,” says Debbie Goss, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.  “We want to encourage women to put themselves on a path toward a lifetime of healthy vision by making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam today!”

A comprehensive eye exam should include a thorough examination of the retina, including an optomap, which is complementary to a DFE and an excellent tool for screening and for patient education. Because an optomap image can be obtained in less than ½ second, it leaves ample time for the practitioner to educate on eye health.

Recent studies have shown that more women than men suffer from age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, the four leading eye diseases in the United States. Women are also at higher risk of developing sight-threatening autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  Although some of these diseases have no known cure, many of the effects may be lessened through early detection and treatment.  Recent surveys displayed alarming results in reference to women and eye exams.  A Prevent Blindness survey found that:

  • Less than 10% of American women realize that women are at a greater risk of suffering permanent vision loss than men
  • 86% believe that men and women are at equal risk
  • 5% believe that men are at greater risk

 

OD discovers case of choroidal melanoma on optomap exam

Dr. Tom Felstet and Jessica

Jessica, an actress, had just started rehearsing for a play in Billings, Montana, when she decided that contacts, rather than glasses, would better suit her part.  “Really, I just thought it would be a good idea to be able to see while I was on stage, “she laughs. “That’s all I needed was to get fitted for contacts. I didn’t feel that I needed, nor did I have time for, an eye exam. ”  However, as fate would have it, she went that day to see Dr. Tom Felstet, OD, who feels strongly that a thorough view of the retina should be a part of every eye exam.

Felstet recalls that when Jessica came to see him that day, she was clearly in a hurry and quite adamant that she simply needed a contacts prescription and did not want to be dilated.  “She was a healthy woman in her mid-50’s, with no remarkable family history and she did not report any symptoms. But fortunately for her she checked the box to get the optomap screening.”

When Dr. Felstet entered the exam room and looked at the image on the monitor, he saw very clearly a lesion in her right eye, just far enough out that it would have been missed on an undilated slit lamp exam.   “He was very discreet,” Jessica recounts. “I know he did not want to alarm me.  I could see quite clearly what he was talking about on the image, but even then, I was not really worried.”  Jessica recalls that even when she did see the ophthalmologist, and he diagnosed the pathology as a choroidal melanoma, she still had difficulty accepting the gravity of the situation.  “I mean, who had ever heard of a melanoma of the eye?  That wasn’t even something on my radar.  I had noticed some little flashes of light, but they were insignificant, and I just passed it off as reflections from some new glasses. Besides, in all other respects I was quite healthy.”

Jessica was referred to an ocular oncologist where she then truly grasped the significance of what was occurring.  Jessica was treated immediately and successfully, but during surgery, the tumor was biopsied revealing that she was genetically at high risk for metastases, particularly of the liver.

Jessica says, “I feel really good. I am so very grateful. I realize that how the series of events played out is quite serendipitous and that the early detection was a best-case scenario for a choroidal melanoma.”  She adds that within a few months she had returned to the stage and was doing well.

Thanks to Dr. Felstet, and his optomap exam, Jessica was able to avoid a potentially sight and life-threatening disease, evermore supporting the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams.

Visit our website for more stories like Jessica, or to find a doctor who has optomap in their practice and schedule your eye exam today.

Do you have a digital strategy?

Image

When you think about engaging with your patients do you consider digital and social media? With so many channels and apps, getting started and building a strategy around communication can be overwhelming and not just writing the content, either, but adhering to the ever-changing mediums and regulations.

 

A recent article in Optometric Management called Develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy, calls out eight essential tips for social media success:

  1. Set a Goal
  2. Develop Cross-Channel Marketing
  3. Ensure Accuracy
  4. Consider Paid Ads
  5. Mix Up Content
  6. Protect your Reputation
  7. Work Smart
  8. Monitor your Competition

 

The digital marketing team at Optos has developed tools for our customers to utilize when getting started on their digital journey. For access to these tips and tricks, we encourage our customers to register for CustomerCentral, where these tools can be accessed. For everyone, however, Optos regularly blogs, tweets, posts, and provides content that can be utilized in your social channels. For example, on our Instagram account, we post an “Image of the Week” and also select an “Image of the Month” for all images posted to Instagram with #optomap. We also provide a variety of product images, optomap images, and logos directly on our website, and we have an entire repository of images at https://recognizingpathology.optos.com.

 

What is working for you? Let us know!

 

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Workplace Eye Wellness and the Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams for All

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of people in the U.S. suffer eye injuries while on the job which will require medical attention. Each day, over 2,000 Americans suffer an eye injury. This means that almost one million Americans have experienced some vision loss due to eye injury.  While most of these injuries are attributed to small particles like dust or wood chips hitting the eye, other injuries can result from a sharp object penetrating the eye or blunt force trauma, which can cause permanent vision loss or even the loss of an eye. Workers in other industries, such as health care, face the risk of coming in contact with an infectious disease if proper precautions aren’t taken.

March has been deemed Workplace Eye Wellness Month in order to shed light on preventable eye injuries and share some pointers for workers to keep their eyes safe while at work.  Its often assumed that work-related eye injuries are isolated to outdoor jobs and those relating to physical labor but ironically, the most common eye problem in the workplace is computer vision syndrome.

Making routine eye exams a part of a yearly, preventative routine aid in the strides to prevent illness rather than treat it as it appears, but for many it is still not the norm.  Many adults with 20/20 vision and no eye-related symptoms will often forgo an annual eye exam, while many ocular diseases are asymptomatic in early stages.  Early detection of these diseases can have a significant impact on courses of treatment and the probability of positive outcomes.

Eyecare professionals can greatly enhance their comprehensive exams with the use of ultra-widefield (UWF™) optomap technologyoptomap is specifically designed to provide an UWF image of the retina, and it is the only technology that captures 200-degrees of the retina a single capture and in less than ½ second. One illustration of how UWF imaging can improve the early detection of eye disease are the results of what amounts to an inadvertent experiment in the screening of healthy individuals. Training for Optos users and new Optos employees requires hands-on training on UWF imaging systems. Part of that involves trainees taking optomap images of themselves.  These training exercises have revealed some surprising results:

— Chad, who had no history of eye problems. Prior to coming to Optos his full schedule and absence of symptoms had made getting an optometric exam a low priority. During training Chad’s instructor observed faint retinoschisis on one of Chad’s optomap images. Further examination using eye steering enabled Chad and his instructor to fully visualize the extent of Chad’s retinoschisis, which included holes in a larger area of retinoschisis in his right eye. Chad’s now receiving regular medical care and follow-up.

— Scott’s initial instruction included routine color optomap images of his own eyes. Then, in early August, he imaged himself during a training session and noticed an area in his upper right eye that he’d not seen on earlier images. Unsure of what this was, he kept track of it during other training sessions. In late August Scott imaged himself again during a training session at an ophthalmic practice and this time the suspect area had resolved itself into something identifiable – a retinal hole. The ophthalmologist participating in the training confirmed this and also observed related leakage. He conferred with Scott and discussed the possible risks associated with his frequent business travel. Scott received laser treatment later that same day.

— Carol, an optical industry professional with 27 years of experience, had never viewed her retina nor had an ultra-widefield examination until she started working for Optos. Then, during a training session with an MD, the doctor stopped Carol as they were viewing color optomap images of her eyes. Asking to look once more at the image of her right eye, the doctor identified an area of retinoschisis visible on the far periphery of the retina. Carol has received follow-up treatment and makes a point during training sessions to image herself and to share her personal experience with the doctors and medical professionals with whom she works.

These stories are by no means unusual, and while not part of a statistically significant study, they make a simple, important statement about ocular healthcare – the wider use of ultra-widefield retinal imaging for routine screening has the potential to significantly improve personal health outcomes. Find an eye care professional who uses optomap, today!

Sources:
https://www.preventblindness.org/protect-your-vision-job
https://yoursightmatters.com/march-is-workplace-eye-wellness-month

 

March 23rd is World Optometry Day

Tomorrow, the 23rd of March is marked as World Optometry Day and the following week as World Optometry Week.  The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) marks this day as an opportunity to draw the spotlight on a key eye care profession and create awareness about optometry and its practices around the world.  On World Optometry Day, optometrists and eye care professionals have the opportunity to spread knowledge and expertise in order to create a huge impact and raise awareness.

World Optometry Day is unique to the profession of optometry and serves as a reminder that while globally there may be different definitions, ultimately eye care professionals worldwide are striving to provide the same things, comprehensive eye care services to their patients.  The World Council of Optometry (WCO) defines optometry as “a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated and regulated, and optometrists are the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection/diagnoses and management of disease in the eye, and the rehabilitation of conditions of the visual system.”

Sight is known to be the most important of the five senses. In fact, the brain receives 80 percent of its information from the eyes. In a national survey, most Americans said that losing their vision would affect their lives more than losing memory, speech, hearing, an arm or a leg.  Globally, optometrists share a vision of a world where optometry provides high quality and comprehensive eye care where its accessible to all people.  Blindness and vision impairment affect more than 600 million people around the world, according to the IAPB. Many cases are because individuals do not have access to the eye exams and eyeglasses they need.  Optos is dedicated to helping eye care professionals aid people across the globe receive the quality eye exams necessary for good vision.

Optos offers optomap®, an ultra-widefield retinal imaging (UWF™) retinal imaging method that facilitates early detection from vision impairment or blindness, and other systemic disease. The unique UWF imaging of optomap captures more than 80% of the retina in a single image, whereas small-field methods reveal only 10 – 15%. Our eye care partners generally include optomap as part of their standard comprehensive eye exam. Ask your eye care professional about optomap today.

Sources:
https://worldcouncilofoptometry.info/tag/world-optometry-day/
https://www.iapb.org/news_tags/world-optometry-day/
http://www.srmuniv.ac.in/content/world-optometry-day

See you at Javits for Vision Expo East (VEE) 2019!

We can’t wait to see you this year as VEE kicks off, March 21-24 at the Javits Convention Center in downtown NYC. During VEE 2019, you’ll have the opportunity to obtain CE credits at events like the March Mania Imaging Track, learn techniques to improve your practice and get access to cutting-edge products and services, such as the ONLY true ultra-widefield retinal image, optomap. VEE also presents an excellent opportunity to network and socialize with eyecare experts and explore New York City, such as the ones that will be available in our booth, MS4849.

We encourage you to find out what’s new at Optos by pre-scheduling your demonstration or stop by our booth at your convenience. Since last year’s conference, we have continued to develop hardware and software platforms to offer new ways to enhance clinical exams.

If you have any questions about our UWF retinal imaging or our offerings at VEE, please call 1-800-854-3039 or email. We look forward to seeing you at the show!