Millicent Knight, OD, FAAO, FAARM, Senior Vice President of Essilor of America, chats with Anne-Marie Lahr, OD, Director of Education, Essilor Instruments USA, about the latest developments in refraction technology.
MK: I understand that Essilor Instruments USA has a new instrument that has some pretty revolutionary technology. Can you tell me more?
AML: We have 3 refracting systems — the VR800, the VR700 and our immersive all-in-one station, the VS700 — that incorporate this new technology. You'll notice that I don't refer to the latest technologies as phoropters, and there's a good reason for that: they simply cannot be compared to other traditional phoropters. Essilor Instruments has developed a unique refraction system which provides a refraction that is fast, easy, and shows real world scenarios to immerse the patient in the process and greatly enhance the patient's experience. Imagine an unparalleled wide field of view and fewer — yet easier — "questions" for the patient.
MK: I know you have sought the expertise of key industry leaders — what do they feel are some of the limitations of the traditional phoropter? As the optometric expert in our instruments division, what do you feel are some of the limitations of the traditional phoropter?
AML: All phoropters — both manual and automated — work on the same principles and use the same increments that we've been using for nearly a century. If we think of it, all the current automated phoropters are manual phoropters equipped with buttons and motors, but nothing has really changed since the first phoropter was invented nearly a century ago! Traditional phoropters are bound to limitations of quarter diopter steps for sphere, and a cross-cylinder test that can only show the patient 0.25 D steps and often provides 2 less-than-satisfactory images to choose from. And don't get me started on the same boring, and unrelatable charts we've been using — nothing but letters!
MK: What do patients think about the traditional refraction experience?
AML: Patients stress about refraction! A traditional refraction offers so many choices — and they're sometimes both poor choices — and the patient feels that if they answer "incorrectly" they'll get the wrong prescription. Our new refraction technique uses AI-assisted algorithms to determine the patient's sensitivity to dioptric changes and offers them clear, distinct choices with the option of "I don't know" being a valid choice.
And the last — but certainly not the least innovative feature — is that the patient can experience the benefits of his new refraction in an immersive augmented reality environment.
MK: How does new refraction technology enhance the patient experience?
AML: The patented optical lens module replaces all the lenses in a traditional phoropter — so the patient is no longer looking through a "stack" of lenses, affording a much wider, more natural field of view. Because cylinder power and axis are determined simultaneously, the refraction process is faster and less stressful for the patient. There are so many amazing features in our refracting systems, but to me the most impressive and valuable one is the ability to instantly demonstrate the difference between 2 Rxs without a trail frame or spinning dials with a scene or a movie instead of a chart. Our refracting systems deliver an unparalleled experience for the patient while ensuring an incredibly precise and accurate refraction.
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