I came across this interesting quote from Keith Thompson, M.D., by way of introducing DigitalVision System’s VisionOptimizer platform at the Future in Focus showcase at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas on September 16, 2014. It occurs at the 39 second mark of this YouTube video.
“I am an ophthalmologist, and everyone in the optical industry knows at least two things about ophthalmologists. One is they know nothing about optics, and secondly most of them can’t refract. So it’s a bit ironic that an ophthalmologist is here talking about refraction technology” . Wow — what a sound bite! Dr. Thompson has an impressive pedigree, having done his Residency at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute followed by a fellowship at Emory in Refractive Surgery and Physiological Optics.
It’s always striking to think of how highly touted certain ophthalmology procedures are in their day, only to be viewed retrospectively as very crude and not entirely safe when the latest and greatest procedures and technology are to be promoted. Dr. Thompson continues:
“Back in the ’90s when I entered practice, refractive surgeons like me were doing all kinds of crazy things to try to correct vision. Radial incisions in the cornea for nearsightedness (PRK); transverse incisions for astigmatism; for high myopia we were taking a device best described as a miniature lawn mower and running it across the cornea (microkeratome).”
DigitalVision System’s VisionOptimizer is modeled in part after the Humphrey Vision Analyzer which was an alternate refracting system that cost $23.000 in the late 1970s. The combination of its cost, and the space that it occupied doomed its adoption. Humphrey obviously went on to have success with automated visual fields, but their principle of refracting while the patient is not constrained during objective or subjective refraction by artificial posture or 38 mm lens wells is being carried forth in this new technology, in addition to other unique features taking it well beyond the phoropter. Parenthetically, there is no mention about binocular balance. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye or two on where this goes.