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Optomap saves money, eyesight

Hurlburt Field, Fla. -- Optometry care at the 16th Medical Group is now safer, faster and more thorough with the purchase of a $187,000 Optos machine in November.

Optomap is an invaluable tool which will allow more efficient and thorough exams.
The Optomap is a non-invasive, instantaneous, ultra-widefield digital scan of the retina using low-powered laser beams that translate the information into a digital image.

“The Optomap takes just minutes to perform; it’s fast, painless and comfortable for patients of all ages,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Chapman, optometry technician.

“It captures a 200-degree view of your retina in only a quarter of a second,” she said.
This equipment takes a picture 15 times larger than the previous equipment. Furthermore, this is all accomplished without dilating the patient’s eye.

The normal side effects of a dilated eye exam include photosensitivity and blurred near vision that typically last four to eight hours.

Since no drops are required, the patient can drive home, return to work, and aircrew members aren’t DNIFed (Duty Not to Include Flying) for 24 hours. Mission operational capabilities are no longer impaired by using Optomap.

“The Optos can allow two to three more patients per optometrist to be seen daily at the optometry clinic and result in 2,316 more patient visits annually. TRICARE can save $135,968 in referral fees annually,” said Maj. Benjamin Franklin, 16th MDG op-tometrist.

Additional savings attributed to the Optomap Retinal Exam are 60,000 man-hours saved from lost duty time due to dilation.

The Optomap can detect early signs of numerous diseases and abnormalities, such as hypertension, or high blood pressure, diabetic ret-inopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinal det-achments. These conditions can affect the eyesight and overall health.

In many instances, patients don’t experience pain or any other symptoms.

In December, Maj. Robert Kesead, 16th MDG optomet-rist, diagnosed an active-duty patient with partially detach-ed retinas in each eye. The patient had no symptoms and was totally unaware of the problem that could have resulted in vision loss or blindness.

The new computer technology allowed Major Kesead a superior view of the retina, which resulted in a quick assessment and development of a treatment plan. This early diagnosis allowed for preventive surgery now, avoiding complicated surgery later with possible permanent blindness.