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December 28, 2011

Hugoton Foundation Awards Grant for Software Upgrade

The Hugoton Foundation has awarded the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) a $5,000 grant to provide a software upgrade for the fundus camera, a device which enhances the quality of care for approximately 2,500 patients at the University Eye Center (UEC) annually.  This generous grant was made in memory of Wallace Gilroy.  

The fundus camera is a specialized low power microscope with an attached digital camera designed to photograph the interior surface of the eye (including the retina).  The camera is used for monitoring the progression of a disease, the diagnosis of a disease, or in screening programs.  The fundus provides sharp, clear images that can be viewed immediately by the optometrist, and shared with the patient while they are still in the exam chair.  Patients can view their own film alongside simulations, samples of eye disease and graphic eye drawings for a better understanding of their condition and cooperation with treatments.  This ability can be especially critical in the diagnosis and follow-up of conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes.

It is estimated that more than 2 million Americans over the age of 40 have glaucoma, but only half of those individuals know they have it because there are often no symptoms.  Because glaucoma is often a “silent” condition, patients can have difficulty understanding that they have been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease, and can fail to adhere to treatment plans prescribed by their optometrist.  With upgraded software for the fundus camera, the optometrist can show the patient the actual damage to their eye, juxtaposed with an image of what a healthy eye should look like.  This capability can have a significant impact on the patient’s understanding of their condition and the success of their treatment.  For patients with diabetes, the fundus is a valuable tool that can provide photographs to monitor the progression of disease over time.  Another advantage of the fundus is that it can be used without dilation, which would be beneficial for special needs patients, including those with cerebral palsy among other conditions, for whom dilation can often be difficult, if not impossible.  

“We are delighted to partner once again with the Hugoton Foundation to provide enhanced services for our patients at UEC,” said Dr. Richard Soden, Executive Director of the University Eye Center and Vice President for Clinical Affairs.

The Optometric Center of New York is the allied and endowing foundation of the State University of New York, State College of Optometry, and is the primary source of private support for its patient care facility, the University Eye Center, providing grants for projects such as a Homebound Initiative, Indigent Care Project and Scholarship Fund, among others.