Methods for evaluating the visual health and care for patients with retinal disease have changed dramatically in the last hundred years, but evaluation still requires multiple tools to obtain a complete picture of visual health. Modern electroretinography (ERG) is a valuable method available today that eye care professionals can use in conjunction with existing methods to support confident care decision-making, but some are unaware of the reliable data it provides and the benefits it offers for in-office testing.
Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month is celebrated each November in conjunction with National Diabetes Month as a way to help educate the public about diabetes and its effects on vision. Eye care practices often use social media, newsletters, and handouts to spread the word on diabetic eye disease risk factors, prevention, and treatment options.
Here are several eye care organizations offering free resources for you to use in your practice:
Topics: Diabetic Retinopathy
Updated ERG CPT Codes Find a Place in Practice
In January of 2019, the American Medical Association announced three new CPT Codes for electroretinography (ERG) which caused quite a bit of confusion among doctors and billers. Here are the facts:
The death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is what leads to glaucoma-induced vision loss. The more RGCs that die, the worse vision loss becomes. As RGCs are part of the central nervous system, they do not regenerate once lost. However, death is the final step in the process. If an eye care professional can identify when RGCs begin to stop working properly due to increased intraocular pressure, treatment can begin at this early stage, thus slowing or preventing cell death and vision loss.
Twenty years ago, visual electrophysiology testing was not widely used in the eye care office, and its importance to routine clinical practice was poorly understood. Diopsys has changed all that.
The early experience with visual electrophysiology is hardly reflective of how this testing is used in modern eye care today, especially with the advent of smaller platforms and streamlined protocols. Even as new diagnostic technology has entered the eye care space, electrophysiology testing has gained a more prominent role in evaluating patients, precisely because no other testing modality can deliver both objective and functional information about the health of retinal cells. For eye care specialists, that kind of data is indispensable for deciding who to treat and how to treat.
“It's another tool in the toolbox,” said Mark Latina, MD, “We think we understand a lot of diseases, we think we know what we are doing, but this testing gives us an objective functional approach to patients, and that is a huge benefit.”
Topics: Visual Electrophysiology
Testing for Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine Retinopathy
Although the exact mechanism by which chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ - commonly known as Plaquenil) induce retinal toxicity is not well understood, but it is recognized as a serious ophthalmologic concern because it is not treatable.1 Guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) on screening for CQ and HCQ toxicity recommend that all patients starting therapy receive a baseline screening followed by annual follow-up visits beginning at 5 years after the start therapy—although some individuals with certain high risk factors might require closer monitoring.1 Above and beyond their role in screening, eye care professionals have a valuable role in educating patients and medical colleagues about safe dosing, risk factors, and the need for screening.
Topics: Multifocal ERG
An Interview with William I. Bond, MD, FACS:
After over 40 years in practice, William I. Bond, MD has gotten fairly confident in his ability to evaluate a patient in the clinic and understand the health of the eye.
The kind of knowledge that only comes from interacting with patients of all ages and vision disorders daily is a valuable tool when working with a new vision loss patient. It is what helps Dr. Bond look at a patient with a cataract, for example, and have an awareness that something else might be going on, perhaps something unseen that is affecting one or more parts of the complex human visual system. It may be that the degree of refractive change a patient is experiencing is more profound than what is suggested by the stage of the cataract. Yet, what that “something else” might be is not always obvious.
Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) has been used for over 50 years in the clinical management of patients with a variety of vision problems. It was not until the last 10 years, however, that visual electrophysiology devices were made consistently available to the office-based eye care professional.
VEP test results give ophthalmologists and optometrists objective, functional information about the entire vision system. These test results often have a few components. Here is a quick review of the most important section: the pattern-reversal VEP waveform.
Topics: Visual Evoked Potential (VEP)
Diopsys introduced its first visual evoked potential (VEP) device at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in 2004, and has been leading the visual electrophysiology space ever since. Our Research and Development program is very important to the success of our vision testing devices, and our customers have benefited from our continuous product expansions. In addition to all of the clinical research done in the last 16 years, we currently have 15 studies running at several prestigious institutions, such as:
- Wills Eye Hospital
- Doheny Eye Institute
- New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
- UCSF Medical Center
Take a look at our brief history below to see where we came from, and where we're headed.
Topics: Visual Electrophysiology
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