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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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Wow, what a difference!

Posted By Houston P. Sharpe III, Friday, August 28, 2015
Updated: Friday, August 28, 2015

I have always enjoyed attending OPS meetings and webinars.  During my first OPS meeting I knew almost no one. Each year since, I have met many new people who are interested in or already immersed in ophthalmic photography.  I am always excited to return home and apply these new tips and tricks during our clinic and observe the resulting differences.   Seeing the change in quality, that resulted from implementing the knowledge gained from the OPS continuing education programs, has impressed upon me the fact that we have a responsibility to continue our education in order to improve our skills.

Recently, I had a difficult view during a FA on a traditional fundus camera due to a severe cataract in the transit eye.  After finishing the mid-phase photographs I felt less than thrilled with my performance.  I thought about a trick that I remember hearing during a lecture at an OPS meeting, "If you have a difficult view through a cataract for a FA, use the Heidelberg”.  Wow, what a difference!  That severe cataract was causing very little distortion to the averaged image I was able to quickly obtain.  After showing my fellow photographers and the attending, I told them the trouble that I had and how I circumvented it.  I felt even more joy from passing on the technique to those around me, hoping that one day it will make a difference in someone else’s treatment. 

I hope to see y’all in Las Vegas for this year’s annual meeting where we can all learn from each other!

 Houston P. Sharpe, III, COA, OCT-C (top); Debra Cantrell, COA (bottom).

Tags:  2015  AAO  blog  cute  education  Educational Meeting  Fluorescein Sodium Dye  Ice Breakers  Meaningful Use  research  Special Events  Tips  Travel  Tricks 

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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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Posted By Hillary Bernard, Friday, April 26, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 26, 2013

Who hasn’t been asked "what’s it like to have” fill in the blank… When working with eyes, whether imaging them or making prescription lenses, everyone assumes you know what it’s like to be blind or to have certain diseases. How can we describe to someone what it is in fact like to have a degenerative disease that we have never experienced?

As imagers, we can describe the physical characteristics, the part that the curious person generally isn’t so curious about. Want to know about ARMD? Sure, I can describe what it looks like from MY eyes when imaging it. I can describe the process and breakdown of the retina and how it affects Bruch’s membrane or the RPE; but what it really looks like from the patient’s perspective? Luckily, I am at a loss.

But now technology has a way of keeping up with us! The Braille Institute has come up with an app called VisionSim that allows you to "see” with certain diseases. Using your camera on your phone or other device, it simulates what the world would look like at different stages of disease.

The app shows macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. So you know that kind old lady with macular degeneration that drives herself in from out of town every six weeks for her injections? Ever wonder what the road map looks like to her when she is on her way to you? Well now you can see it for yourself… Over time that little blind spot becomes invasive and all consuming.

How about that patient who has a constant battle with their forever worsening glaucoma? They say it is like getting tunnel vision, and while I feel confident I may have actually experienced "tunnel vision” during a few of the more stressful moments in life, it has immediately corrected itself. But what is it like for those who are not so fortunate?

A simulation of cataract is another common condition which is available to be observed. As my grandfather described it to me- the world gets brighter and everything has a glare. Sort of like a migraine maybe? I was always curious how it compared with normal vision and always hoping to never find out. Well the app gods heard my thoughts because here it is in all its glory. This one seems to me to give a bit more realistic simulation than the glaucoma simulation in its representation, but how can I really know for sure?!


And finally, the diabetic retinopathy simulation. I have often heard exclamations of "Oh my gosh, I can see my own veins!” or "I can see the inside of my own eyes!” moments after shining obnoxiously bright lights into the eyes of our poor unsuspecting patients. However, I’ve never had a patient tell me that they can regularly see veins obstructing their vision. The simulated diabetic retinopathy presentation shows the splotchy vision eventually having veins come into view? Whether or not this has any truth to it I do not know as my encounter with patients does not often include specific descriptions of their vision. Any of you out there know the truth of this??

So what is my favorite part of this app? Well besides that fact that it can give you a sneak peek into the world of some of your dear patients, and hopefully open all our hearts to a bit more compassionate and empathetic… It’s free! I personally have an Android phone so I hopped on to the Google Play Store to download it, but I know it is also available (still for free) to all the Apple users out there. I think the Braille Institute did a good job with this, I just wish more people in ophthalmology knew about it.




Hillary Bernard, CRA has been at the University of Michigan's Kellogg Eye Center for 5 years. She joined OPS in 2011 and is a member of the Professional Development Committee. In her spare time, she can be found out on her bike or racing her sailboat around the Great Lakes.

Tags:  app  blog  education  Interactive  iPhone  Meaningful Use  PDC  research  Social Media  Study  Tips  Vision app 

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The Steps to becoming Certified for Research Imaging

Posted By Adeline Stone, Friday, April 12, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 12, 2013
The approach to becoming certified for clinical research imaging versus the protocols that you may be used to during the day to day clinic, may look a little daunting! The first step is to take a step back and say I KNOW I CAN! Doing a little research on how to perform research imaging either OCT’s, Photography, or cell counts is the first step to becoming certified. Breaking it down by first figuring out equipment and software, log in accounts, studies requirements for certification and finally obtaining images that will get you certified for your desired study.


Begin researching the certification requirements for equipment, or software versions of capture stations. Communicate with your research coordinator, or research manager to find out if a log in account needs to be requested for the study your clinic or physician is enrolled in. Once a log in account is established for you, start researching how to get your equipment certified. I also recommend spending some time learning the websites. Not all of them are the same to navigate. Finding the certification manuals for which imaging device that you are getting certified for, makes it much easier. I will print out all the manuals and have them handy when I am performing imaging, or tasks. Creating a centralized binder is very helpful when you have several individuals trying to get certified as well.

Some reading centers will require a verification file to be downloaded on your capture station. Before downloading make note of the serial number of the capture station, operating system, version of capture station software, and patches. Other reading centers will need you to provide calibration/schematic eyes to test that the equipment being used is adequate. Once the file or calibration image is sent off for verification, you will either be good to go, or possibly need to have an update. In the case of the Spokane Eye Clinic we did not have the patch that allowed for histograms to be viewed while taking images for Imagenet. We had to save our photos first and then we could see our histograms. After we enlisted the help of Tony Pugliese we were able to correct our settings for blue, hazel, and brown eyes. This was an entirely new process for us, and we have really made an improvement to how our photography looks. Here is the link to his article about how to control histograms and achieve a higher quality of imaging: Once you have the histograms and software version up to date, a sample fundus image will also need to be sent for review, in the correct format (TIFF, PNG, JPEG, etc..). Soon a certification notice is sent via e-mail through the reading center. Now it is time for the fun!

7 Fields Certification Photography
(Taken By Adeline Stone, COT)


During the slower clinic days we will dilate willing participants to sit through a session of photography for our certification. It makes a world of difference to just practice the protocol on a fellow co-worker who has great media, and cooperation. Following the protocol 7MD, which requires stereo pairs at 35 degrees, and anterior photos to document lens opacities. Make sure to also save in the correct file extensions, for the study you are trying to become certification you are seeking. After obtaining two right eyes, and two left eyes, burn to a disc to send in the mail, or upload through an online portal. You will also have to request certification through the website or reading center that is certifying you, or fill out a form requesting certification. We have found it best to overnight the discs with a tracking number through FED EX when you have to do it this route. This prevents delays on having to re-submit another CD when a second submission might have to be re-submitted.


Screen shot of Histogram during angiogram

(Taken By Adeline Stone, COT)


Once you receive confirmation that your images have been submitted, and then you either lucky to pass, or possibly need to redo another set of a left eye and right eye. Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t pass the first time! I found it very helpful to talk directly to the photographers of the reading center of what I was doing wrong. In my case it was a little bit of focusing issues due to my own accommodation and I needed to achieve more depth of field. I solved those issues by focusing with the monitor, which I have to do from time to time and lowering the gamma. The second submission was a pass! Even if you don’t get it during a second go, keep trying. Each time is good practice and will make you more efficient each time.

For FA certification it is not as easy to perform on co-worker that really doesn’t need to take the risk of an invasive procedure. I started by practicing on our clinical patients for the protocol required for our study. Once I had it down I used those images for my certification photos. I also like to communicate with the patient and doctor that I am following a protocol for certification and ask them if it is ok with them if I proceed with the certification series. Otherwise I don’t want to take extra photos on a patient that may difficulties with the lights from the photography. If you are lucky enough to get to practice on another willing participant that you work with, always get prior approval from your doctor. I was a participant; I signed a consent form, and also received a written order from a physician before just doing it. This was a great experience not only for my fellow photographer to get excellent photos, but as well for me to be the patient. I have much more empathy and understanding of how it feels, and looks like during an FA.

Photography Dream Team! From left to right Vicki COT, Sandy COT, Becky RN, BSN, -look she can inject without looking!

(Photos Taken By Adeline Stone, COT)


OCT certifications can have their own challenges such as trying to find pathology that will meet the requirements of the study. Once you have an excellent scan with the correct pathology requirements obtaining multiple scans that are consistent will be a requirement as well. Showing consistency between the sets of OCT’s from the normal eye to the eye with pathology will give better data. If there is a chance to obtain OCT’s during your regular clinic, be sure to scan patients under the required certification labeling practices. The other option is to rename patient information on those scans that are required to have macular pathology. Make these changes with care, as not to accidently remove important identifying information when you re-edit the OCT. Lastly exporting the correct file, either e2e or, not zipped or a zipped file will allow a successful upload or submission on a disc.

Once the leg work of obtaining the images in the correct format for the study is completed and your clinic site is ready for patients, continue to review and practice the steps for obtaining the images. The more practice for the protocols the more they become second nature, and beneficial for the studies. In conclusion, becoming involved in the process of following study specific protocols adds to the challenges to a busy clinical setting. It may seem at times to be a long process, but in the end rewarding to progressing imaging skills for the ophthalmic photographer.

Adeline Stone, COT, is employed at Spokane Eye Clinic as the Supervisor of Diagnostic Services. She has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Ophthalmic Medical Technology from Portland Community College. In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors with her husband in the Pacific Northwest by snowboarding, hiking and camping. Having obtained a Certificate in Culinary Arts, she also enjoys cooking, baking, canning and gardening.

Tags:  blog  certification  education  Ice Breakers  Meaningful Use  PDC  research  Tips 

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