Optometrist Going High Tech

Valley City’s Looysen I Care is going state of the art with new equipment for helping diagnose eye problems, said Dr. Steve Looysen, owner of the business on West Main Street.

“I have new technology that’s pretty exciting,” Looysen said Wednesday.
New technology that recently arrived at the operation include a tonometer, a digital camera for taking photographs of the rear of the eye, and a device called an OCT, or Optical Convergence Tomography.

Talking about the tonometer, Looysen said before the new device arrived, he used equipment that put a puff of air onto the surface of the eye to test pressure. “Now we have a device to measure without a puff of air,” called an icare tonometer.”

Noting the name similarities between the device and his business name, Looysen joked he almost felt he was ordained to get the new piece of equipment.

The tonometer is used as a test to help rule out glaucoma in patients, Looysen said.

The second piece of new equipment Looysen is now using is a digital retinal photography device for photographing the rear surface of eyes.
“Retinal photography has been out for a while, but digital is fairly new,” Looysen said.

The device uses a modified Canon digital camera to record images, but the device is much more complicated than an off-the-shelf digital camera, Looysen said.

With the device, Looysen is instantly able to get photographs of the rear eye surface.

Eye features Looysen examines with the device include the optic nerve, blood vessels and the macula. Blood vessel patterns are unique to every individual, and vascular diseases will show up in the eye, and macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

The final new piece of equipment Looysen talked about is the OCT, which was just installed in Valley City about one week ago.

“It is the latest thing for looking at the retina, optic nerve and macular to look for eye diseases.” Looysen said the device uses laser light to come up with images of the eye in cross sections. He said it allows a good look at macular degeneration, problems with the optic nerve and even find retinal tumors.

“It also gives us a topographical map and will show if there is a retinal tear or detachment. It is a completely non-invasive procedure,” Looysen said
Before Looysen added the OCT, in order to conduct the same tests, dye had to be injected into the eyes, and often required calling in an ophthalmologist to do the procedure.
Looysen said in the week the OCT has been installed it has been used on several patients. He said follow up scans of eyes are just as valuable as the first scan, because they allow the doctor to monitor changes in the eyes.
“It really does add another dimension to treatment and follow up for eye diseases. We used to have to send people out of town to use one – now we can do it right in town,” Looysen said.