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Eye Group Farragut utilizes new technology


The Eye Group in Farragut is home to a digital imaging machine called the Optomap that is making eye dilation unnecessary in many cases.

“The Optomap is a laser-assisted digital retinal imager. Wow, that’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it?” Dr. Dorian Lain said.

“It’s a comprehensive method for evaluating and monitoring the internal eye of a patient,” he said.

That type of technology is extremely helpful to monitor the eye health of diabetics or those suffering from macular degeneration or glaucoma, he added.

The Optomap machine takes a photo of the inside of a patient’s eye, and then displays that photo on a computer screen for easy viewing.


“Traditionally, we’ve always had to put dilation eye drops in a patient’s eyes, and then you have to wait 20 minutes, and then their eyes are dilated for four to six hours and the patients don’t like it,” Lain said.

“But now we can get a better view of the patient’s eye in this little quarter-of-a-second flash, and we pull it up on the computer screen, and it allows me to get a good view, a better view, of the inside of their eye,” he added.

Although insurance does not normally pay for Optomap scans when they are used merely as regular monitoring, the out-of-pocket cost is only $29.

“We try to keep the cost low very specifically, because it helps us so much, we would like the patients to choose it.

“It helps us and it gives them a better experience as well,” Lain said.

If the Optomap does catch an abnormality, insurance normally will pay for that scan and for subsequent scans.

Lain estimated more than 50 percent of his patients chose to have the Optomap scan rather than have their eyes dilated.

“It’s very popular,” he said.

“It makes that patient experience a lot better,” he added.

The Optomap scan also allows Lain to communicate with other specialists and physicians more easily. Digital images from the Optomap can be easily e-mailed rather than mailed, he said.

Lain said he originally bought the machine to offer patients an alternative to dilation, but has since found it helps him diagnose problems more easily.

The program allows Lain to compare photos of the eye from years past side-by-side, and “very closely follow things.”

“This is so simple,” he added.

Lain said only one other practice in the Knoxville area had an Optomap scanner. The Eye Group currently has the scanner only at its Farragut location, but plans one in South Knoxville.

The Optomap was developed by Douglas Anderson in the early 1990s after his son, Leif, was blinded in one eye after a retinal detachment was detected too late.

For more information, visit www.optos.com or www.theeyegroup.net, or call The Eye Group at 865-966-2020.

 

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