Robots have been around the OR for a while, but none look much like C3PO or R2D2. They do help in delicate procedures, lending the precise nature of a robotic arm with an exactness that is hard to duplicate in a human.
The robots are coming to the delicate world of eye surgery as well. A couple of years ago, tweed-clad researchers at the University of Oxford began clinical trials for the PRECEYES Surgical system.
In the robot-assisted surgery, the (human) surgeon takes charge of PRECEYES and controls the mobile arm with a joystick. You can swap out various instruments on the arm, and it eliminates the slight tremors that plague even the most steady-handed of humans.
The surgeon slips the robot through an incision less than 1mm in diameter
The trial enlisted 12 patients that each needed a membrane removed from their retina. Six received traditional surgery, and the other half were robot-assisted.
In the robotic procedure, the surgeon slips the robot through an incision less than 1 mm in diameter. It separates the membrane from the retina, then removes the membrane from the eye, and exits through the same hole. In the surgeries conducted without the robot, the surgeon manually uses microsurgical instruments while peering through an OR microscope.
All 12 surgeries, both robot-assisted and traditionally human, were successful. Check out more details in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Could the key to detecting Alzheimerâ€™s disease before it savages the brain be in the eyes? A recent study published in in JAMA Ophthalmology says itâ€™s a possibility.
In the study, doctors examined the eyes of older people who had no signs of dementia and found abnormalities in the retinas of those who also had biomarkers for the disease, which can predict whether a person who has normal cognition now will go on to develop Alzheimerâ€™s.
Thereâ€™s a large body of literature showing structural changes in the retina and the optic nerve in patients with established Alzheimerâ€™s disease so researchers could look for pathologic changes in the brain that parallel the changes in the eye.
The study involved 30 people who showed no signs of dementia, but 14 of them were diagnosed with preclinical Alzheimerâ€™s based on their positive biomarkers, as measured by a PET scan or cerebral spinal fluid testing, or both.
The researchers examined each personâ€™s retina and optic nerve using optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCTA), It turned out an area in the center of the retina without any blood vessels was much larger in the participants who had the biomarkers for Alzheimerâ€™s than those who didnâ€™t. It was also thinner.
Of course, more research is needed but this could be a big step forward in finding and treating Alzheimerâ€™s as early as possible.
Read the study here.
Patients definitely love their doctors, but it’s not unconditional love. When the relationship is on, they perceive you as brainy and empathic with the ability to leap small hospitals in a single bound.
But patients need and want to believe that their doctors and the results from their tests are infallible. And when they get news they don’t want to hear, things can get ugly fast. Granted, this is a subset of patients–The same ones that will write a bad review on Google if they have to wait 15 minutes for an appointment.
The key to healing this trust is a true doctor-patient relationship. And yet, our medical system mitigates against it. Churning through 30-plus patients a day doesn’t leave you much time for conversation about the context surrounding their condition.
Visiting the doctor these days is like running the gauntlet, starting with medical forms, unavoidable waiting, and testing, poking and prodding by assistants. Any of these can trigger any negative underlying emotions that some patients have about doctors.
There are no easy solutions. One way to show that you’re not aloof and infallible is to admit mistakes and apologize; it shows that doctors are human just like everyone else.
Breaking down obstacles to patient relationships is still worth the time for better clinical outcomes, and a healthier practice.
The kids are all back in school and your office will soon be flooded with students who are discovering theyâ€™re not seeing quite as well as they did last year. Be ready for the deluge with the Reichert Clear Chart 4 Acuity Testing System. The all-in-one system is simple to use and meets all of your acuity testing needs.
Features include a 24â€ť Hi-Res Screen that configures for direct or mirror viewing, special test charts for astigmatism testing, suppression and fixation and a cartoon look with sound for pediatric fixation. You can also import your own images and video!
Call us at 800.255.5929 or drop us an email to learn more about the Clear Chart 4!
You didnâ€™t grit it through a decade or more of training to get mired in accounting. We get it. But dealing head-on with the profitability (or lack thereof) of your practice may seriously affect your professional sense of wellbeing. Altruism only puts food on the table for so long.
A good place to start is with yourself. Are you fairly compensated compared to other ophthalmologists? Check out these salary surveys. Are you within an acceptable range, or are you drifting to the lower end of the scale? Why? Are you plowing too much of your salary back into the practice? Are you staffed correctly? What part of your business is bleeding red ink?
This may sound counterintuitive or selfish, but you need to pay yourself first. Thatâ€™s how successful entrepreneurs do it. And like it or not, youâ€™re a member of the â€śEâ€ť club.
What part of your business is bleeding red ink?
Itâ€™s doubtful that you have the time to immerse yourself in the intricacies of a profit and loss statement. Thatâ€™s why accountants were created. A good one can determine if you are within industry ratios for expenses and revenues, and group your services into lines, like Cataract and LASIK surgery. Youâ€™ll have the information you need to direct your marketing for the best return, and to allocate your time to the most profitable parts of your practice. This helps you along by giving you data to inform decisions.
Staffing is the biggest expense of most ophthalmology practices, so work with your accountant to assess productivity. What is the role of every employee in contributing to profitability? At the very least, youâ€™ll gain insight into the types of employees who can grow your practice. You can be a compassionate and altruistic doctor and still enjoy the financial rewards of your work. So, if you donâ€™t have an accountant, you have time right now to hire one.
Summer is here. Long days, hot sun and UV rays leaping around like toddlers in a bounce house. The sunâ€™s damaging ultraviolet rays put your patients at risk of serious short-term and long-term eye problems but prevention is easy: Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation. But which sunglasses are up to the task of protecting those precious peepers?
Hereâ€™s some handy info to share with patients when choosing the sun-specs that will keep their eyes safe from sun damage: Look for a tag that says 100 percent protection against both UVA and UVB or 100 percent protection against UV 400. The darkness of a lens, color or price doesnâ€™t necessarily indicate the strength of UV protection, so be sure to check the label.
Thereâ€™s no doubt about the consequences of not protecting our eyes from the sunâ€™s harmful rays. If eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without proper protection, UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours. Long-term sun exposure is linked to more serious eye disease, such as cataracts, eye cancer, and growths on or near the eye. And a lifetime of exposure can increase the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
And consider wearing a hat with a broad brim along with your shades to complete the anti-UV ensemble. Theyâ€™ve been shown to significantly cut exposure to harmful rays as well.
Oh, and donâ€™t forget the sunscreen!