OPTOS the GREAT
No, this isn’t about the forgotten Greek god of sight, although close – Optos is a machine. But let’s start from the beginning.
It was a rare occasion when I visited BEI as a patient. Sitting in the waiting room, which always reminds me of the spaceship entrance in Return from the Stars, I took a look around – other patients, some luxurious eyeglasses under a glass panel, beautiful ladies at the front desk, an epic view of LA (it’s on the 7th story, and on the unprotected border between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills) – and intermittently read a spare novel, whose 92-year-old heroine had been gifted a hearing trumpet.
Despite having personal acquaintances (I know everyone there), I was not accepted before those who came in earlier, so I had to wait like everyone else – about 17 minutes bell-to-bell.
The atmosphere they have there is so nice, and the color and light is such that it’s therapeutic; I could sit still, even on a Friday. But there was a lovely lady ahead of me (turns out she was 92, also, much like the heroine of the novel) who came back in and had a conversation with the doctor:
- Ophthalmologist, loudly: “Come back in three months!”
- Lady, laughing: “Why are you yelling at me? I can hear everything! When do I come in next time?”
- Ophthalmologist (high-pitched whisper): “In three months!”
- Lady: “I asked when I should come in. Are you deaf or what?”
And at that point they called me in. Don’t worry; I won’t describe everything. Let’s just talk about this amazing thing called Optos. It has what ophthalmologists, both past and present, couldn’t have dreamed of in other machines. There’s something cosmic about it…
including the astronomical price, which almost made me pass out. But here’s the story of its origin:
The five-year-old son of Scottish billionaire Douglas Anderson was blinded in one eye after a sudden retinal detachment. The boy had previously seen ophthalmologists, but they overlooked the problem, so then Anderson contracted a team of engineers to build a miracle machine that would not overlook it.
My own long-suffering retina was examined using this very machine, the Optos Optomap, which has a scanning laser ophthalmoscope. It allows for examining the fundus at a viewing angle of 182’ (out of a possible 200) and reveals even the smallest holes in the retina, any ruptures, possibility of detachment, symptoms of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. All of these are dangerous things. Well, technically it isn’t the machine that reveals anything, but rather the doctor who interprets the pictures it takes.
Furthermore, Optos can see things that you’d think are inexpressible – for example, the floaters that swim around in your eyes.
Dr. Benjamin was true to himself and explained or showed everything to the smallest detail. To many, it seems that there’s no hurry when it comes to the eyes, but that’s a misconception. They also cannot wait, so don’t make them do so. For example, half of the people with glaucoma are not even aware they have it. And on that note, my short and convincing sermon is over.
It’s time to not waste time!
Text by Vadim Avrukin