Uganda Photo Gallery Featured at AAO to Benefit IAPB & VISION2020

Terry Cooper’s mission trip showcased with his beautiful photography

In April 2015, Volk’s Regional Manager for Europe, Terry Cooper, participated in a 10 day charitable mission to Uganda with the Vision 2020 Links team. A passionate philanthropist and gifted photographer, Terry documented the trip in a series of moving photographs, many of which will be on display at Volk’s AAO booth, #4045. Visitors will have a chance to see his photos, hear about the mission from Terry himself, and if interested, make donations to the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness and the VISION2020 through http://www.givingsight.org/.

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The trip included clinics at the Mulago Referral Hospital in the capital city of Kampala, as well as at Ruharo Eye Centre, in the far more remote city of Mbarara. Terry assisted the Vision 2020 Links team and local practitioners in using Volk’s Pictor Plus handheld digital imager to carry out screenings for diabetic retinopathy and examinations under anesthetic of retinoblastoma patients.

Terry documented the work of the team as well as the local sights and people he encountered on his trip. His work, which has also been featured multiple times by The Ophthalmologist (bit.ly/1kHdYFw), provides a glimpse into the heart of the Ugandan people.

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During the April mission, the team was able to make a measurable impact on this underserved nation, were rates of childhood retinoblastoma are nearly twice that of the UK. But there is still much work to do globally to reduce preventable blindness. For this reason, Volk will be providing a QR code link to www.givingsight.org for visitors to easily make direct donations to fund this critical work.

 

Visit Volk at AAO to view the gallery and learn how you can help.

 

Read Terry’s dispatches from the field here and here:

Show Your True Colors with Colored Lens Rings

Silver color option gets a new hue

Volk’s colored lens ring options put a fun and practical twist on the exam tools you rely on every day. Custom colored lens rings mean you can:

 

1. easily distinguish your lenses from those of your colleagues
2. identify one style of lens from another with just a quick glance
3. organize larger practices by color coding the lenses in each exam room

 

Select Volk lenses are offered in a choice of gold, red, green, purple, blue, and a new, deeper silver finish. The new silver finish is a darker hue that makes the engraving that much easier to read.

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For a limited time, both silver options will be available. If you’re looking to complete a matched set of your existing silver lenses, or just like the classic silver look, order by the end of 2015 and specify the lighter silver color.

Colored Lenses are available in the following styles:

  • Digital WideField®, Digital HighMag®, and Digital ClearField
  • 20D, 28D, and Pan Retinal® 2.2
  • 78D, 90D, Super66®, and Super Field®

Volk Optical’s Pictor Plus Portable Imager Used on Charitable Mission in Uganda

Handheld digital imager screened patients for diabetic retinopathy and pediatric retinoblastoma

Mentor, Ohio (July 9, 2015) – In April, Volk’s Pictor Plus was used by ophthalmologists from the Royal Free Hospital in London during a ten day charitable mission trip in Uganda. Volk’s Regional Manager for Europe, Terry Cooper, joined the Vision 2020 LINKS team, a group led by ophthalmologist Clare Davey, on a mission to reduce preventable blindness. The Pictor Plus was the only fundus camera available to the team and was used primarily for screening for diabetic retinopathy and examinations under anesthetic of retinoblastoma patients.

Specialist retinal nurse Sofia Mendonça uses the Pictor Plus to examine a patient at the Mulago Hospital (Kampala, Uganda). Photo credit: Terry Cooper

Specialist retinal nurse Sofia Mendonça uses the Pictor Plus to examine a patient at the Mulago Hospital (Kampala, Uganda). Photo credit: Terry Cooper (@capdailphotos)

The trip included clinics held at the Mulago Referral Hospital in the capital city of Kampala, as well as at Ruharo Eye Centre, in the far more remote city of Mbarara. The Pictor Plus handheld digital imager is ideal for mission and field work, delivering high quality retinal views in a compact device that weighs in at just one pound. For the mission trip, the Pictor Plus, its accessories, and a laptop with image capture software travelled in a standard sized backpack outfitted with a solar panel for field use and mobile battery recharge.

“I first learned about the Uganda trip when I met Clare Davey at a Congress,” explained Cooper. “As I learned the scope of the project, I realized that Pictor Plus would be great tool for the physicians on this mission. What’s more, I have a personal interest in charitable activities, so my involvement on Volk’s behalf really came together organically.”

With a 40° by 45° field of view of the fundus and two modules for both retinal and anterior anatomy imaging, clinicians were able to identify a range of patient pathologies. All stages of diabetic retinopathy, as well as serious conditions such as BRVO (Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion) and CRVO (Central Retinal Vein Occlusion) were seen. It was also used to examine retinoblastoma patients–particularly critical as the incidence of this childhood cancer in Uganda is nearly twice that of the UK (1-2 cases referred per week at just one hospital in Uganda, compared to 45 per year total in all the UK).

Typically during screenings at the Mulago Referral Hospital, four fundus images were taken of each patient with Pictor Plus: disc-centered and macula-centered, of each eye. The Pictor Plus’ eyecup provided stability to the camera, reduced stray light and generally helped team members get good images. Images were then transmitted wirelessly into Health Intelligence’s Spectra Retineye screening software for review by an ophthalmologist. Those with abnormal retinal findings were then further examined with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and treated with laser as appropriate.

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Routine fundus exam with Pictor Plus at Mulaga Hospital (Kampala, Uganda) Photo credit: Terry Cooper (@capdailphotos)

Cooper and the Pictor Plus then travelled to the Ruharo Eye Centre of the Ruharo Mission Hospital to work with ophthalmologist Keith Waddell. During the visit, the Pictor Plus was used for examination under anesthetic of retinoblastoma patients. It enabled the team to take fundus images of children ranging in age from two months to 12 years old with relative ease, running on its own solar power, rather the unreliable local power.

“It’s personally gratifying to have this opportunity as a part of Volk-to be able to share portable technology that can be used effectively in developing countries,” said Cooper. “The dire lack of eye care resources and infrastructure means people go needlessly blind.”

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Children at Ruharo Eye Centre diagnosed with retinoblastoma. (Mbarara, Uganda) Photo credit: Terry Cooper (@capdailphotos)

For team leader Davey, having a member of the team from the optical industry was especially helpful. “This visit was particularly successful because we had a very defined remit, because we have already established good working relationships with the team in Mulago, and because for the first time we had a member from the optical industry (Terry Cooper) who set up the equipment, optimized its use and helped train the local staff,” she said. “I recommend similar Vision 2020 visits to concentrate on taking the most effective team.”

 

Scroll down to read Terry Cooper’s personal dispatches from the trip.

Dispatch From the Field: Terry Cooper Reports on Second Half of Uganda Mission

Pediatric Consults with Pictor Plus

On our third day at the Mulago Referral Hospital, we moved on to the pediatric ward. Consultant ophthalmologist, Geoffrey Woodruff joined the team to provide mentoring and training to the local pediatric ophthalmology team.

The pediatric team carried out 14 intra-ocular operations on children. Geoff Woodruff concentrated on training in the surgery of pediatric cataract, to allow better provision by the team there.

From there, it was on to the Ruharo Eye Centre to visit ophthalmologist Keith Waddell, and see the work he is doing to diagnose and treat childhood eye cancer, retinoblastoma (Rb). The remote clinic is located in Mbarara in the south west of Uganda, near the border with Rwanda. Since Keith established the clinic in 1984, it has grown to become the retinoblastoma referral center for South West Uganda, as well as taking patients from Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania.

Meeting Keith was inspiring. He trained and qualified as a physician in the UK, initially specializing in oncology before training as an ophthalmologist. He settled in Uganda as a medical missionary and built the eye center in a field adjacent to the hospital. At 80 years old, Keith works full-time for two weeks a month in the clinic, and the rest of the month on the road visiting hospitals and clinics throughout the region.

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Childhood cancer, retinoblastoma (Rb), is a rare disease–incident in 1:15,000-20,000 live births. In the UK, 50-60 cases are diagnosed each year. With Uganda’s significantly higher birth rate, the number of cases is therefore much higher. Around the time of my visit, over 40 cases were seen at the Ruharo Eye Centre in a single week. The caseload is so high that many Rb specialists from abroad visit Ruharo to improve their experience and skills.

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The survival rates of Rb vary by geography. In the UK, 98% of children survive. In Africa it is much lower. Mortality was 100% in Uganda until Keith Waddell and his team began work to reduce it to less than 70%. Successful treatment of Rb depends on early diagnosis of the disease. It has been heartbreaking to see many children that will not survive as it was not spotted early enough. In these cases, Keith concentrates on cosmetic treatment, paying attention to how the eyes and face look, and on palliative care.

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I can see how Pictor Plus could be an important tool to increase early diagnosis. It could be used for initial screening of patients by paramedical staff in remote areas, with the resulting images sent by email to a specialist like Keith for diagnosis and referral for treatment. Pictor Plus has many advantages for this type of telemedicine application. It’s extremely lightweight and portable. I was able to work for two days without using local mains power, which is of poor quality and unreliable. Instead, I carried the Pictor Plus in a backpack equipped with solar panels which power a removable battery. This setup could easily travel on visits to local clinics in remote villages where there may be no power.

In the hospital, we used Pictor Plus for examinations under anesthetic (EUA), carried out routinely by Keith on all patients being treated for Rb. Once Rb has been diagnosed, the treatment pathway is usually enucleation of the affected eye followed by a course of chemotherapy. The EUA is an important part of the pathway as it allows a thorough examination. Using Pictor Plus complements the typical BIO examination. Because of its small size and portability, it has been relatively easy to take fundus images of children ranging in age from two months to 12 years old.

Though I’m home now, I’ve not forgotten all that I’ve seen. To improve Rb mortality rates, there is a desperate need to for an education program targeted at parents to alert them to the signs that could indicate Rb. I am working with health correspondents of the two main daily newspapers in Uganda, the Daily Monitor and New Vision, to develop Rb educational articles for forthcoming issues.

“The entire trip was extremely humbling and rewarding. I was able to see firsthand the impact that technology, which we have come to take for granted, has in these impoverished nations. It also felt good working as part of a multi-disciplinary team all playing our part in delivering a service of real value and impact on other’s lives.”

 

Volk Optical Receives Global Leadership Award

Volk elated to receive its 2nd award in May for international excellence in business

Mentor, Ohio (May 28, 2015) – Volk, sponsored by the Northeast Ohio International Business Network (IBN), was awarded the Global Leadership award from the Rotary Club of Cleveland and Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University on Thursday, May 21. The Global Leadership award is given to a business that has demonstrated outstanding strategic marketing and business practices relative to developing its international business operations. Volk’s commitment to international business growth through focus, strategy, and personnel additions has allowed our export business to grow consistently for 8 years, with the past 4 years showing 52% export sales growth. The achievement in export success also helped Volk Optical win the U.S. President’s “E” Star Award Monday, May 18.

Award for Global Business Leadership (from left to right): Paul B. Qua, President, Rotary Club of Cleveland; Peter Mastores, Volk Optical, Inc.; Susan Whitney, IBN; and Dr. Rajshekar Javalgi, Cleveland State University

Award for Global Business Leadership (from left to right): Paul B. Qua, President, Rotary Club of Cleveland; Peter Mastores, Volk Optical, Inc.; Susan Whitney, IBN; and Dr. Rajshekar Javalgi, Cleveland State University

 

BCLA Poster Features Volk Eye Check

The British Contact Lens Association 2015 Clinical Conference & Exhibition kicks off tomorrow. If you will be in Liverpool, be sure to visit the Volk booth.

Another part of the event not to miss is the poster presentation evaluating the accuracy and repeatability of the Volk Eye Check, an electronic handheld ocular measurement device for contact lens fitting.

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Capable of a number of key measurements including pupil diameter, horizontal visible iris diameter, interpupillary distance, margin reflex distance, pupil eccentricity, and strabismus angle, Volk Eye Check helps practitioners screen, diagnose and document ocular characteristics for contact lens fitting and general diagnostic purposes.

The following poster will be presented at BCLA:

Clinical Evaluation of the Volk Eye Check Contact Lens Device                                                  Poster # 55; Hall 2 – Saturday May 30th, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.

  • First author: Chad Rosen, OD, FAAO; Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State U.
  • 2nd Author: Stephanie Ramdass, OD, MS; Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State U.
  • 3rd Author: Craig Norman, FCLSA; Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State U.

Read the full abstract of the poster here: http://bit.ly/bclaVEC  (page 54 in the PDF file)

Lastly, at BCLA, Volk will also be previewing Volk Eye Check’s new Best Fit Analysis feature, rolling out in the next few months. When stopping by the Volk booth, make sure to ask about how the Best Fit Analysis uses measurements taken with the Contact Lens Module to recommend specialty contact lens styles either by contact lens manufacturer or by brand from its integrated library. A very convenient feature for getting the fit right the first time!

 

Volk Optical Receives Presidential Award for Export Success

Second win recognizing continuing export growth for the company’s ophthalmic devices

Mentor, Ohio (May 27, 2015) –Volk Optical was awarded the President’s “E” Star Award for Exports by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at a ceremony in Washington, DC, Monday, May 18. The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. The “E” Star Award that Volk received recognizes previous “E” Award recipients for continued superior performance in increasing or promoting exports.

Volk Optical receives the Presidential “E” Star Award for export excellence. (From Left to Right) Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Volk Optical President Peter Mastores, Volk Optical Vice President of Operations Bernie Rykaczewski, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun M. Kumar.

Volk Optical receives the Presidential “E” Star Award for export excellence. (From Left to Right) Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Volk Optical President Peter Mastores, Volk Optical Vice President of Operations Bernie Rykaczewski, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun M. Kumar.

Volk manufactures ophthalmic lenses and portable diagnostic imaging products that are used to diagnose and treat conditions of the eye. Eye doctors globally use Volk’s products to improve vision and help prevent blindness.

“We are honored to receive the “E” Star Award in recognition of our continued global export strategy.” said Pete Mastores, Volk’s president. “Since first winning the Presidential “E” Award for Exports in 2011, we have maintained our international focus, growing our business and creating jobs here in the U.S. This year, being one of just four manufacturers awarded the “E” Star designation is a testament to the hard work of our entire team-both here in the U.S. and around the world.

“The President’s ‘E’ Award winners are outstanding American businesses and organizations that have played a crucial role in strengthening and growing our economy through increased U.S. exports,” said Secretary Pritzker. “By selling Made-in-America goods and services internationally, winners are creating jobs in Ohio and their local communities. Congratulations to Volk Optical. Exports are critical to our nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace and solidify our country’s economic leadership across the globe.”

In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Today, Secretary Pritzker honored 45 U.S. companies with the President’s “E” Award for their outstanding work to reduce barriers to foreign markets and to open the door to more trade around the world.

U.S. exports of goods and services hit an all-time record of $2.34 trillion in 2014, accounting for 13.4 percent of U.S. GDP, compared to 7.5 percent 30 years ago. Nationally, jobs supported by exports reached an all-time high last year with more than 11.7 million jobs, up 1.8 million since 2009.

American companies are nominated for “E” Awards through the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Record years of successive export growth and an applicant’s demonstration of an innovative international marketing plan that led to the increase in exports is a significant factor in selecting the overall winners.

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For more information about the “E” Awards and the benefits of exporting, visit www.export.gov.

ARVO Posters Feature Volk’s Pictor for ROP Screening and Telemedicine

ARVO is fast approaching, and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody in Denver. We’re especially excited for this year’s conference as there will be three poster presentations that feature Volk’s Pictor and Pictor Plus portable ophthalmic cameras for diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and telemedicine consultation and screening.

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Volk’s Pictor handheld imager provides high resolution images of the retina and anterior segment for screening of a range of ophthalmic pathologies. It’s lightweight and compact, allowing easier examination of non-ambulatory and pediatric patients. The jpeg images are compatible with patient records systems and can be shared for remote diagnosis and consultation.

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Diabetic Retinopathy and Retinopathy of Prematurity

In a recent study conducted at Duke University, Dr. S. Grace Prakalapakorn, et al., demonstrated that Volk’s Pictor fundus camera captured digital images of the premature retina that provided sufficient quality and accuracy for accurate grading by experts in comparison to clinical examination employing indirect ophthalmology. (Ref: Prakalapakorn SG, et al. 2014. Retinal imaging in premature infants using the Pictor noncontact digital camera. J AAPOS;18:321-326.)

Visit Dr. S. Grace Prakalapakorn’s poster presentations at ARVO for more information:

  • Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy Using the Hand-Held PICTOR Camera – Poster #: 1426 – A0121; Poster Session #220 – May 4, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 10:15 AM
  • ROPtool Assessment of Pictor images for Retinopathy of Prematurity – Poster #: 976 – A0085; Poster Session #157 – May 3, 2015 from 3:15 PM to 5:00 PM

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Telemedicine Consultation and Screening

A current study by Dr. Maria Woodward, et al., at the Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, has found that Volk Optical’s Pictor Plus handheld imaging technology can produce reliable anterior segment and posterior segment images. This pilot data shows the potential for telemedicine evaluations for additional eye pathologies in remote settings.

Visit Dr. Maria Woodward’s poster presentation at ARVO for more information:

  • Telemedicine for Ophthalmic Consultation Services – Poster #: 1411 – A0106; Poster Session: May 4, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 10:15 AM

 

Stop by the Volk booth #2607 to learn more about new technologies in portable fundus imaging with Volk’s Pictor and Pictor Plus cameras. We have exciting incentives including a free two-week trial of Pictor Plus and a 10% discount off the price of Pictor Plus if purchased at the show.