The Air Force Materiel Command provided the 72nd Medical Group Optometry Clinic at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma with eye technology called Optos 2000. The device is a low powered scanning laser ophthalmoscope and makes it possible to do an eye exam without dilating the eyes. By not dilating the eyes, officials project that the device will be able to save more than 72,000 hours each year in lost production and downtime. However, Optos will not entirely eliminate the need for dilations, since initial dilated eye exams are required, as well as updates every three to four years.
“This is so important for our flying population,” said Dr. (Maj) Judy Manno, optometry services flight commander and practicing optometrist. “When we put in drops to dilate and check the retina, it precludes flying duty for 24 hours.”
The Optos digitally scans the retina, the interior lining of the eyeball and creates an Optomap, which is a digitalized image of the retina. Once the digital image of the retina is uploaded, doctors and technicians are able to determine if there are retinal lesions and are able to spot early signs of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal tears.