Tools of the trade: Welch Allyn PanOptic ophthalmoscope

by Dr Peter Gibbs, Hall Veterinary Surgery, ACT 

The Welch Allyn PanOptic is a direct ophthalmoscope that gives very good coverage of the entire retina.

What’s good about it

Indirect ophthalmoscopes give a complete view of the whole retina. The only drawback is that the image is upside down and they can be cumbersome to use. Most other direct ophthalmoscopes only let you see a very narrow area of the retina at any one time. This requires the vet to move around in order to see the entire retina. The PanOptic gives a really clear look at the majority of the retina in one view.

There is also an adapter that allows the vet to look at the cornea and inspect any abrasions with magnification. The animal is wide awake when using the PanOptic. Most animals tolerate the examination and brightness of the light very well.

The PanOptic makes it easy to see any damage to the retina and the optic disc. I like to have a good look at the lens to see if the animal has cataracts developing. I also look for any blood vessel irregularity or bleeding that can indicate increased blood pressure, especially in older cats.

What’s not so good

It’s fairly expensive to purchase. But even though it’s expensive, it’s long-lasting.

Where did you get it


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