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Versatile and light weight fundus camera


Michael Young, Chandler QLD

Product: Optomed Smartscope M5

Supplier: BOC Instruments 

I operate a mobile remote-visiting practice so all of my equipment has to fit in the back of my car. In 2007, I bought a Canon DGi retinal camera, which I regard as brilliant. After I acquired the Canon, for the first time I was able to take textbook-quality fundus photos out in the bush. The camera is still running strong. I have made only one phone call to the supplier in that time, and that was because I connected it incorrectly.

After five or six years of loading and unloading my 25-kilogram brilliant machine in and out of my car, I was starting to get a little tired of the weight. Then I read about the Smartscope hand-held retinal camera that weighs about the same as a Panoptic ophthalmoscope.

I tried one at the next conference I attended but frankly, I couldn’t make much sense of it. The supplier generously lent me one for a few weeks and I eventually figured out how to get consistency with it. It made me feel like an optometry student trying to do direct ophthalmoscopy for the first time.

The advantages of the Optomed Smartscope hand-held fundus camera are its portability, versatility and light weight. As for disadvantages, the rubber used for the eye-cup is too soft and comes off easily.

There is a slight compromise with image quality, which is compensated for by the Smartscope M5’s portability, but the images are good enough to see pathology and I don’t believe I’m missing anything with the lesser image quality.

If there is anything I really want to photograph, I dilate first, then I can also look with the BIO with a Volk 2.2 lens or a 90 D lens on the hand-held slitlamp—a tricky procedure but worth mastering.

Interestingly, before buying the Smartscope M5, I tried an app for my iPhone that takes photos using the Panoptic Ophthalmoscope. I would give those images only a 2 out of 10. I tried it for about a month and got quite good at using the app but I found it just didn’t have the detail to be of any use to me.

To get good photos from the Smartscope M5, you need a dark room, a moderately-sized pupil and a steady hand. For right eye photos, I ask the patient to look at my left ear, then I approach from the primary position. This places the disc and macula correctly.

If you have a fixed-location practice, I recommend a bench-type camera as everything is all set up and there is no transporting required; however, if you do mobile work, then consider the Smartscope M5.

E025 - 1 AM Right Eye - NEW

Right eye of AM, who had a ‘funny right eye all her life and the specialists weren’t sure what it was’

E025 - 2  MH Right Eye - NEW

Right eye of MH, a 90-year-old patient with suspicious discs

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