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Welcome to the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society Blog! The posts on this blog are authored by a myriad of individuals in Ophthalmology. Posts are not always authored by those directly affiliated with the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society and opinions may not be those of the OPS; however, all posts are submitted to a review process and have been approved by the OPS before being posted. Comments are open to the public. New posts are added every Friday, so make sure to check back often!


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Salary Survey

Posted By Paula Morris, Friday, September 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013

These days we frequently hear that we should "make a difference”. It has become a familiar, well used concept. I hear the phrase at work, I hear it regarding volunteering for my community, I hear it from various organizations about fund raising, and I heard it often from a dear, departed friend – it was a principle he truly lived by.


Every once in a while, something comes along that can make a difference in our ophthalmic imaging profession: something where each individual can make a unique contribution. And that something is the OPS salary survey!

Contrary to some comments circulating around in the ether, ophthalmic imaging is growing, thriving, and most importantly, evolving. Ophthalmic imagers are a diverse group, coming from different backgrounds, different training, and more and more, different job descriptions. The demands of an academic institution may be quite dissimilar to what is required in a private practice, and the management of each clinic is bound to be unique, based on the style of the physicians in the practice.

So, how to gauge compensation in such diverse situations? How to get a sense of where you stand in relation to colleagues throughout the profession? How do your demographics match up to other imagers?

The new OPS salary survey, which was designed to be specific for those who do ophthalmic imaging, is a way to collect information about all of us in a usable form that can be referred to when negotiating for new employment, wage increases, or job re-classifications. It includes not just salary information, but geographic locations, and workplace scenarios, just as the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes in its surveys. All of this information has an impact when comparing Job A with Job B. The more participants we have in the survey, the bigger the data pool, the more comprehensive the information, and the greater the benefit to all of us.


This is where the individual making the difference comes in!

It is easy to find the salary survey – the link and a short explanation are featured on the home page of the OPS website, Since we want the survey to be answered by and available to everyone who does ophthalmic imaging, not just OPS members, you don’t need to log onto the website to participate in the survey.

As it says on the website, it takes about 10 minutes to complete the survey. Happily, our wonderful website allows us to do surveys, but it is not a perfect system – if you have to leave to do patient care, the webpage may "timeout”, the survey will be incomplete and you will have to start over. So if you can, select a time when you have a few uninterrupted minutes to devote to completing this important task. The results will be available to everyone in the coming months.

So far, there has been great response to the survey, but it’s not complete if your information is not included in the results! Please spread the word to your non-OPS imaging friends!

I really love this quote by President Kennedy – especially the "every person should try” part! Please take that to heart and join us to make this salary survey the most complete, and therefore, the most meaningful survey yet.


And while you are on the website, be sure to look around and see all the exciting things that are happening in the OPS. Education, photo competitions, forums, blogs, Facebook connections – something for everyone!



Tags:  blog  cute  education  Interactive  Meaningful Use  PDC  Professional Development Committee  Professionalism  research  Salary  school  Study  Survey  Tips 

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Looking for a Barrier Filter to Cover the Sun

Posted By Alan Frohlichstein, Friday, August 23, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013

Each St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, we have the dying of the Chicago River. A short section of the river, between Wabash and the lock to Lake Michigan, has Fluorescein Sodium dumped in from a motorboat, which then proceeds to stir it up, giving the river an intense green color. I have made several attempts over the years to image this process as an angiogram, with an exciter and barrier filter, but, so far, I have been only marginally successful. The Barrier filter works well, but I haven’t found an exciter filter to fit over the sun, or at least a half mile by three quarter mile area over the river. I have made a few attempts at night, but between the ambient light, and the diffusion of the fluorescein in the intervening hours, nothing really imaged.

The images in this group are from 2012.


Pre Injection

Pre Injection


Arterial Filling

Arterial Filling


Venous Phase

Venous Phase





More Recirculation

More Recirculation


Late Phase

Late Phase


With Barrier Filter

With Barrier Filter


Without Barrier Filter

Without Barrier Filter


The Wrigley Building

The Wrigley Building


If you know where I can get the super size exciter filter, please let me know.


Alan Frohlichstein, BFA, BS, CRA, FOPS

Tags:  blog  Chicago  Chicago River  cute  Fluorescein Sodium Dye  funny  Ice Breakers  Interactive  Meaningful Use  PDC  Tips  Travel 

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My - What I Have Learned!

Posted By Taylor Pannell, Friday, August 9, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2013

When I was at RIT I didn’t want to believe the stories about patient interaction and care. I refused to believe that I would ever have to hold open lids or deal with media opacities or even help hold a patient up to the machine for their tests. I was used to fresh, young, healthy eyes that were used to dilation and bright lights. My ophthalmic instructor always told us that our classmates would be the best patients we’d ever have and she was very right.

When I first started at the eye institute I thought I would have it easy. I thought my patients would be nice and cooperative and that my coworkers would marvel at my accuracy and speed. Reality hit me real fast. This job would not be the walk in the park I believed it would be.

On my first day at the institute I figured I would be at a slight disadvantage because it had been at least a year from finishing my ophthalmic class to when I was hired to work in the ophthalmic field (Meaning it had been quite some time since I had used a fundus camera). I figured I could still keep up and be a great photographer. I quickly became depressed and discouraged when I saw the speed at which my seasoned coworkers could sweep through images on an unruly, uncooperative patient.

Although imaging my first patient didn’t take an hour to do, I still needed to hurry it up. After some practice however, I did manage to quicken my pace.

I also wasn’t anticipating the doctors and their needs. I had no idea that each doctor has likes and dislikes and if you do something they didn’t ask for (even if it’s helpful) you may hear about it. If you forget to do something they ask for (because, again, they each like different things and it’s hard to remember which things go to which doctors) you will most definitely hear about it. Luckily I had great coworkers that taught me (very quickly) what each doctor expected and how to speak to them about it.

When it’s sink or swim you learn to swim very, very fast. I found that I had been thrown into a raging sea of patients, testing, doctors, and high expectations and I thought, for a brief moment, that I might drown. There were two reasons that I survived. I had the drive to stay ahead. I took notes and tried to commit as many things to memory as I could. I also was lucky enough to have supportive coworkers and team members guiding me and telling me that I was doing just fine. Any time I got discouraged or made a mistake, they were there to tell me how they did the same thing when they started and that it’s not the end of the world.


When I went through the biomed program I was very similar to my classmates. We took similar classes and did the same project on the same subjects. When we left our program we all looked the same to employers. So… how did I end up with this position over my classmates? What set me apart? I’d like to think that, yet again, it was my drive. I wanted so badly to find a career in this field, that I took the classes, did the projects, and reached out to my teachers for help (for those of you who don’t know, your teachers are great resources). My ophthalmic imaging teacher led me to a job at the University of Rochester, imaging for a diabetic retinopathy clinical trials project. That job opened the door and introduced me to people that helped me into the position I’m in now.

If I could give advice to anyone currently taking the ophthalmic courses, it would be to learn about OCTs. Also practice, practice, practice taking fundus photos. OCTs are a very popular and in demand test and if you apply for a job already knowing how to use one or at least know how they work, you will be ahead of your classmates. As for the fundus photos, I know almost all of us in the class took photos to meet the requirements of the projects, and then we went home. I wish I had stayed and shot eyes with differing degrees of dilation. It would have made me faster and better at imaging (a healthy eye at least). I don’t think enough people take advantage of their resources when they are in school and they don’t realize that they should have until they graduate and can no longer utilize them.


My advice to the new people coming into this field (or any field for that matter) would be to work hard and try your best. Your coworkers, doctors, and patients will appreciate it. Also, if you make a mistake, own it. Talk to the doctor about what happened. The fact that you can recognize that there is a problem and fix it will make them respect you more.

My last piece of advice or word of caution is to treat everyone you work with (whether it’s a classmate or coworker) with respect. Don’t be lazy and push your work onto them or be rude and inconsiderate. You never know who will have a say in hiring you down the road. Also, never forget to thank people who have helped you along the way no matter how small the help is. They will remember. Speaking of giving thanks, I would like to thank everyone in the ophthalmic department at the University of Rochester. They have helped me learn new things and made me comfortable in the workplace. They are making me the strongest photographer I can possibly be. I’d also like to thank my ophthalmic professor/student advisor at RIT, Christye Sisson. Without her I would not be where I am today nor would I have the knowledge to get to where I am.



Taylor Pannell graduated from the Biomedical photographic communications major at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2012. While there, she studied photomicroscopy, ophthalmic photography and print design and publishing. In October of 2012 she started working on the Tele-I-Care study that dealt with imaging patients with diabetic retinopathy. While working on the Tele-I-Care study she also worked part time in the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester until she was brought on full time in May of 2013. She is currently working towards obtaining her CRA and OCT-C.

Tags:  blog  cute  education  Ice Breakers  New Life  PDC  Professionalism  school  Study  Tips 

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My Continuing Education: Going Back to School without Going Back to School

Posted By John Peterson, Friday, July 26, 2013
Updated: Friday, July 26, 2013

For several years I’ve been on the lookout for a suitable Master’s Degree program. Before I define "suitable”, and fill you in on what I’ve discovered, let me share some background.

After earning my Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University I worked as a fruit and vegetable inspector for the USDA in New York State; after this job ran out I traveled westward, hoping to snag similar positions in the Green Acres of California. Instead, I took a job with a construction subcontractor, for whom I worked for a few years. In that time I rekindled a latent love of photography and made it work-related: I began photographing our projects and maintaining albums of job-progress photos. That passion continued after I left the company with dreams of plying my photo trade full-time. I fell into Ophthalmic Photography in 1995 and have never looked back. I’ve been at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics for 15 years.

While I was following my own path many of my college friends were getting advanced degrees and marching forward into the corporate, medical, or legal professions. I, too, held onto a desire to return to school, seeing how I knew much more about life than I had when I entered college as a naive 18 year old. If undergraduate years are a springboard into a world of ideas and opportunity, then graduate school is your chance to refine your focus and march ahead with a clearer idea of what you want from life.

As soon as I became a father I knew that returning to school full-time was not an option. My search for graduate programs was put on the back burner until the emergence in the past few years of quality evening / part-time / online programs designed especially for working people. I swung and missed at a few intriguing but not-quite-right programs. I finally connected in late 2011 when I discovered Western Governors University’s Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program in IT Management.

Several factors converge for me in this program: The emphasis is relevant to my skills and aspirations, the degree is well-respected, the program is rigorous, and it is 100% online. Oh, and the price is right. WGU is a non-profit that keeps prices low while taking great pains to build personal connections. Visit for more information than I can provide here (no proprietary interest).

So what’s it like going back to school without going back to school? I rise an hour earlier than usual each morning, and do schoolwork before breakfast. Evenings, it’s dinner with my wife, then back to the books; I quit in time for us to share a drink over "The Daily Show”. On weekends I’ll put in a few more hours, depending on the social calendar. Friday is my one night off per week. I find that methodically plodding toward a goal is immensely powerful. Be faithful to your routine, and the tasks melt away behind you like highway miles on a cross-country road trip.

To prepare for the written assignments (of which there are between one and four per course) we’re given E-Books and articles to read, videos to watch, and simulations to carry out. There are eleven courses total in the program; I’m currently on Number 8, IT Strategic Management. The final course is a Capstone Project that should encompass everything I’ve learned in the program. We’re supported by a student mentor, course mentors, and an active online community.

Observations? I tend to adopt personality traits that reflect the course material I’m currently working on. For example, while taking IT Project Management, I began to view every task I undertook in terms of starting points, endpoints, and milestones, and visualized my life as one giant Gantt Chart. I became greener in my habits when studying Social Responsibility, and subconsciously calculated Returns on Investment while in Financial Analysis.

I expect to finish my program in January 2014. What follows after that remains to be seen. I believe I’ll be well positioned to make myself useful at a higher level in the nexus between Ophthalmology, Imaging Science, Information Technology, and Business.

So, what’s your plan?


John Peterson BS, CRA is Director of Ophthalmic Photography Services at the UW Health Eye Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin. He began his career at the University Eye Clinic in Basel, Switzerland. In his spare time he runs a small farm, hunts fossils, dresses up as a pirate, and writes about macro photography at, although not all at the same time. He is currently a candidate for an MBA in IT Management at Western Governors University. Politically, he is against some things and in favor of others.

Tags:  blog  cute  education  funny  Ice Breakers  New Life  PDC  Study 

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Mid-Year Program: From the General Chair and a First Time Attendee!

Posted By Denice Barsness and Jorge Rodriguez, Friday, June 7, 2013
Updated: Friday, June 7, 2013

The weather gods smiled upon us and graced us with spectacularly sunny days for the recent San Francisco Mid-Year Educational Program! Crystalline blue skies coupled with the annual Cherry Blossom Event right outside the door of the Hotel Kabuki provided stiff competition for our students’ attention. Fortunately, there were no windows in the Imperial Ballroom to distract us and the educational content was thoroughly engaging.

As I looked across the packed room of both seasoned and novice attendees, I was impressed with the diversity of our students both in skill level and geographic backgrounds. People came from across the USA and even Finland to listen to the presentations. Likewise, our faculty hailed from as far away as the East Coast, the Rocky Mountains and even the Middle East! The OPS is fortunate to have the "street cred” to attract such talent- both on the presentation and the organization sides of the house.

As General Chairman of this meeting I am simultaneously relieved that the work is done, the glitches were minor (those two buses! Did everyone eat fast enough to get on one???) and yet another OPS produced Mid-Year meeting achieved its goals. With our Board of Education at the helm and Education Chairman Debby Brown gaining just a FEW gray hairs as she shepherded her flock of instructors to the finish line, a fine two days worth of ophthalmic imaging continuing education credits came to fruition.

On behalf of the OPS, may I thank everyone for the opportunity to yet again serve our members and for honoring me with this responsibility. Following the meeting, I traveled down our beautiful California coast with my husband, Chris, and my good friend Jim Gilman for a few days of R&R at Point Lobos. This fine photograph taken by Jim will attest to the restorative powers of beauty- both natural and man-made.


I look forward to seeing everyone at ICOP in Toronto next year!

-- Denice Barsness, General Chair, CRA, COMT, ROUB, FOPS


This year's OPS Mid-Year Program was held in beautiful San Francisco. The Kabuki Hotel, as always, was a great host to an amazing event for all who attended. With gorgeous San Francisco Bay weather throughout the entire conference, the many lecturers presented on varying topics from "Descriptive Interpretation of OCT" by Elizabeth Affel, to the always fun and engaging "Ophthalmic Jeopardy" hosted by Timothy Bennett. As it happened, during Sarah Moyer's presentation titled "Pathways to Ophthalmic Imaging", a little furry friend joined the lecture in order to learn how they themselves can further their careers in Ophthalmic Photography. The lectures were fantastic! Every topic had thought provoking-points and some interesting discussions were had. The general level of knowledge OPS members and conference goers have was superb.

Merging the location and date of the OPS Mid-Year meeting with ASCRS turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to engage with a larger ophthalmic community. This merging of the conferences allowed attendees to be able to view all the OPS Scientific Exhibit entries in the exhibit on the floor of the Moscone Center! The symposium had a full house with over 250 attendees. It was amazing too see how many physicians attended the OPS/ASCRS Symposium!

This was my very first time attending an OPS Mid-Year and I had a wonderful experience – my thirst for knowledge was only temporarily satisfied!


Jorge Rodriguez, B.S., CRA, is an ophthalmic photographer working with NIDEK as a Clinical Specialist. Mr. Rodriguez has over 3 years of experience working in university-based academic medical centers and has had experience in private practice as well. He is a passionate graphic artist, lecturer and educator in the field of ophthalmology. Areas of expertise include fluorescein angiography, indo-cyanine green angiography, digital imaging, fundus autofluorescence and optical coherence tomography. Mr. Rodriguez holds current certification as a Certified Retinal Angiographer, is a former member of the NorCal OPS Chapter and his images have been published in a recognized ophthalmic magazine. He has volunteered for several OPS meetings and loves all things Ophthalmology.



 (Photo Credit:  Noelle Pensec)

Tags:  ASCRS  blog  cute  education  funny  Ice Breakers  Mid-Year  PDC  Professional Development Committee  San Francisco  Special Events  Study  Travel 

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