Focus On

Portable imager broadens patient range


Portable Imager Broadens Patient Range

By Samantha Stahl, Assistant Editor

While imaging technology has had major advancements in the last decade, certain patient demographics remain difficult to examine. Having a small, lightweight imager, like the Pictor from Volk, can make it easier to screen a wider variety of patients. With two ophthalmic modules included (retinal and an anterior module), the device can also function well in multispecialty practices.


Two groups benefit largely from the Pictor's portable technology, says Ben Szirth, PhD, director of the Applied Vision Research Laboratory at New Jersey Medical School: “The supine population — mostly babies or intraoperative procedures, and those seen in outreach screening programs at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, etc.” Dr. Szirth plans to bring the Pictor on a mission trip to Honduras next spring to help cut down on the amount of time spent performing direct ophthalmoscopy. The captured images will then appear on a laptop monitor. All images are captured as standard JPEG files and can connect to any computer with a USB connection, according to the manufacturer.

“The Pictor's size and portability makes it a good addition to our platform in telemedicine,” says Albert Kouri, MD, the Medical Director of the Telemedicine Outreach Program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “It allows the acquisition of images in adults and kids during telescreening for diabetes and other vision-threatening diseases.”

The Pictor from Volk is a portable imager with anterior and posterior segment capabilities.

Dr. Szirth uses the Pictor in community-based screenings on a weekly basis, as well as in clinic for bedridden patients. “The range of our patients varies from a premature baby to a centennial. We image patients with retinopathy of prematurity, diabetes, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and any other posterior pole retinal disorders.” His practice also uses the handheld retinal camera in child abuse cases to record retinal hemorrhages, which are often used in litigation.

He found very little learning curve with the device and was able to use it without any training. He notes that working with pinhole pupils and some ocular media opacities, as with any system, is a challenge, but overall the camera's ease of use “truly shines.”


While the ergonomics of the device are a huge benefit (in use, the Pictor weighs just over a pound), Dr. Szirth says that patient care has been largely improved by the retinal lens on the device's use of an infrared viewing diode, which allows him to focus and align the retinal image without flooding the posterior pole with the excessive light and heat that is generated by conventional white light sources used in other retinal cameras.

Because the Pictor's retinal module is a non-mydriatic retinal camera, there is higher patient cooperation, particularly with the pediatric population. “When imaging ROP babies, white light used for retinal imagery alignment often translates to additional stress on the infant and leads to crying. When this happens, opportunities are lost for capturing important photo-documentation,” says Dr. Szirth.

“The retinal angle view of 45 degrees was, for me, one of the key factors that gave more relevance to Pictor as an integrated clinical imaging system,” he adds. “It is a very flexible and versatile system.” RP

For more information, visit