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Don’t go it alone


Sue Callahan

Nidek rS-330 retina Scan Duo HD OCT with colour Fundus Camera
Oculus Easyfield S Oculus Keratograph 5M Keeler Symphony slitlamp Oculus PArK 1 Pachymeter/
Autorefractor/Keratometer iCare Pro Tonometer
Frastema Exclusive 65SB Automatic Three Instruments Unit


To ensure your next fit-out is a success, consult with your equipment suppliers and tap into their vast experience. They can help you with not just your choice of instruments but also the floorplan of your practice.

Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour precinct in the Docklands has seen substantial growth in apartment living and commercial space in recent years. Despite all of the amenities the area has amassed, it has remained without an optometrist for over two years, which is why we decided that it would be the perfect place to start a new practice. After finding an ideal property with amazing frontage and light, for sale at a reasonable price, Eyes On Docklands was established. All we had to do was build and equip the entire practice.

I approached the Eyes On group and found it was also keen to open a new practice. Knowing how well we had worked together previously made it an easy decision to share the new practice 50/50. We purchased the freehold to remove the angst of leasing and used each other’s strengths to establish the new venture.

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From the ground up

My partners and I met weekly to discuss the project. The site began as a shell, so our first appointment was with the builders to establish the necessary requirements regarding existing walls, ceilings, electrical and so on. I drew up the plans following priorities based on previous practice set-ups, and we had regular meetings to finalise the drawings.

Our goal was to have one consulting room, a reception area and a dispensary. We agreed that it would be important to make the most of the 12-metre display window at the front of the shop.

Not having any previous relationships with equipment suppliers, it was important to me to look at all options in the consulting room. Before I could decide on the exact dimensions of the room, the types of equipment had to be determined so that the plans could work around these specific dimensions.

We decided early in the process to ensure this practice presented as a state-of-the-art facility, with the most up-to-date equipment. We knew it would include an OCT, but we didn’t know if we needed a separate digital camera or an all-in-one device. The major suppliers were very eager to have us purchase their equipment and I had a number of meetings with them to ensure I had been thorough in assessing their products. I also visited a number of optometry friends to learn why they chose the equipment they had and how it met their needs.

We decided to go with Designs For Vision. The ‘Eyes On’ group has worked with DFV for a number of years with a range of equipment, and has always found the company to provide exceptional service and fair pricing.

The sales representatives at Designs For Vision are extremely helpful. They make communication with the client a high priority, they service their equipment when needed and they have state-of-the-art products. We will be one of the first practices in Australia to install the new Nidek Retina Scan Duo (OCT/Digital camera) and the Frastema Exclusive 65SB Automatic Three Instruments Unit. Because these pieces were not yet available when we established our business, the company lent us an OCT and chair and stand for the first few months of trading.

Cameron Loveless from Designs For Vision met me on site on many occasions during the building project to measure the consulting room and offer helpful recommendations, from the best use of the space to the best way to network all the computers and equipment. With Cameron’s input, we fitted all the cabling into a channel around the perimeter of the room to avoid unsightly exposure to electrical wiring.

Installation was quick, efficient and included all the time our optometrists needed to ensure that we all were proficient in using the instruments.

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We found the Frastema chair and stand easy to use. The automated facility moves each unit into the patient position at the touch of a button and the patients seem suitably impressed. We were concerned that the unit would be larger than the specifications suggested, but I am pleased to report they were spot on. Having three instruments on the stand allows the patient to remain comfortable. It’s quick, and with a remote mouse, I am able to work from the stand to the computer with ease.

Other instruments installed are the Oculus Easyfield, Oculus Keratograph, Keeler slitlamp,  Oculus PARK 1 (Keratometer, Pachymeter and Autorefractor), and iCare Tonometer Pro (I’m loving the dock that  comes with it). I decided to keep the OCT on a separate table, which seems to offer more of the ‘wow’ factor, something that helps to determine the patients’ understanding of its importance for a complete eye examination.

Since trading began, we have been pleasantly surprised and busier than we expected for this time of year. Patients have commented on the freshness and receptiveness of the practice, and in the consulting room many express their amazement with the new technology. Once installed, the Nidek Duo—a recent arrival into the country—will surely elevate our standing among our patients.

I look forward to immersing myself in Eyes On Docklands over the next few years and seeing whether it will do as well as I hope. I have low expectations for the first 12 months, although many of these have been already met.

Soon it may be time to establish the next ‘Eyes On …’ .

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