By David Perkins, Sr. Manager, Upstream Physical Assessment Marketing, Hillrom
23 JUL 2021
April marked an important milestone with incredible changes for the Welch Allyn line of physical assessment products, including the launch of the new PanOptic Plus ophthalmoscope. Many physicians remember the Welch Allyn ophthalmoscope they had in medical school while many still have held onto them. Since Welch Allyn introduced the first handheld, battery-powered ophthalmoscope over 100 years ago, it has become a staple brand used for thorough eye exams.
The ophthalmoscope looks at the fundus, the exposed nerve, and vascular system and can give an amazing view into some systemic changes that might be caused by chronic diseases, like hypertension or diabetes, or acute problems like stroke. Did you know the back of the eye is the only place on the human body where you can examine the tiny blood vessels which amazingly lie fully exposed on the surface of the retina and able to be seen through an ophthalmoscope? Below the blood vessels is a nerve fiber layer, which enters and leaves the eye at the optic disc. And below that are the rods and cones that allow you to see.
The traditional, direct ophthalmoscope found in many offices and clinics has become a bit of a relic. With very simple optics, medical students may remember the difficulty of conducting an eye exam with such a fleeting, limited view.
We’ve changed that view. Our new PanOptic Plus ophthalmoscope design caught the attention of participants during pre-market research. At first, users noticed that the size, controls, and exam experience are very similar to the traditional direct ophthalmoscopes they have used for years. Then when they examine a little closer — their commentary changes to "Holy cow, that's amazing! I've never seen the back of the eye like that!". That's because the new PanOptic Plus ophthalmoscope provides a 20X larger viewing area of the back of the eye when compared to the field of view through a traditional direct ophthalmoscope.
On top of this amazing view, we've helped make locating the elusive optic disc even easier, thanks to our patent-pending Quick-Eye alignment technology. Two lights on the patient side — red light for right and yellow light for left — serve as fixation targets to help guide the patient’s gaze for better alignment to their optic disc. This feature can be especially helpful for students learning to obtain that perfect view.
In addition to these incredible optics, we've designed the PanOptic Plus ophthalmoscope to be more durable and long-lasting than ever before. With our Durashock technology and LEDs, we’ve developed a product that will help minimize your challenges over broken lamp filaments or cracked housings.
We’re excited to be changing views and helping to transform a standard exam into a new experience for you and your patients with the help of the new PanOptic Plus ophthalmoscope.
Next up, my colleague will be featured, expanding on some of the new features we’ve added into both the PanOptic Plus Ophthalmoscope and MacroView Plus Otoscope.
Dave Perkins is a Senior Manager in Global Marketing at Hillrom within the Physical Exam and Diagnostics business. Dave has a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, holds 52 worldwide patents, and has been instrumental on a range of important Hillrom products, including our iconic Welch Allyn Retinoscope, Connex vital signs systems, and now the new PanOptic Plus Ophthalmoscope, MacroView Plus Otoscope and the iExaminer Pro app. He also has a terrible sense of humor.