Keeler Donates Ophthalmic Equipment to Charitable Belize Mission

Binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and portable slit lamp used at clinic to screen nearly 1000 patients

Donated equipment from Keeler’s US business was recently used by a team from the New England College of Optometry (NECO) during a charitable mission trip to the Stann Creek District in South-eastern Belize. Members of NECO’s Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO) partnered with His Servants Ministries to provide eye care in this desperately underserved region.

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Headed up by Lee Peplinski and Nathaniel Pelsor, the team of 13 NECO students, plus a support staff of three, spent five days conducting exams, dispensing medications, providing protective and prescriptive eyewear and referring patients for follow up care. A key aim of the mission is to establish a sustainable eye care system to provide sight-preserving early intervention and ongoing follow- up treatment.

The team saw 745 patients for comprehensive eye exams. Most were provided with readers, safety goggles, artificial tears, glaucoma, allergy or other topical medications, or custom prescription lenses using donated blank frames. One hundred were referred for additional treatment or surgical intervention. In addition, the team administered comprehensive vision screenings to over 200 students, setting them up for academic success unhindered by vision impairment. All told, the team provided eye care to nearly 1000 people.

“Many of the patients we see have undiagnosed or poorly controlled systemic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and other vascular diseases,” explains Jessica Hahm, the 2016 Belize Team Leader. “Therefore, dilated eye exams are all the more important for our patient population. Without the Keeler Vantage Plus BIO, it would have been impossible for us to conduct dilated fundus examinations. The optics allowed us to easily obtain clear views of the periphery and posterior pole of the retina, cutting down on our exam time and allowing us to diagnose diseases and conditions with greater accuracy.

“The Keeler PSL portable slit lamp also allowed us to check the anterior segment of the eyes, and to assess whether or not it was safe to dilate patients,” added Jessica. “The slit lamps were crucial in helping us see the microscopic details of the cornea to get a proper diagnosis.”

With LED illumination and wireless designs, the Vantage Plus and PSL are particularly well suited to clinic and mission work. The LEDs consume very little power, meaning a long battery life. Being wireless also makes it easy to move quickly from patient to patient.

“We’re happy to support the students and doctors doing this important charitable work,” says Laura Haverley, Keeler’s Sales and Marketing Manager. “Eye care and preventing vision loss are critical to overall health and quality of life.”

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Keeler Donates Ophthalmic Equipment to Bangladesh Eye Hospital

To assist with the kitting out of the Just Help Eye Hospital currently under construction in the Sylhet District of Bangladesh, Keeler Limited has donated two ophthalmoscope and retinoscope sets.

Sheik Rahman, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust’s Community Optometrist (left) with Mizanur Rahman, Founder and Chair of Just Help Foundation, with the Keeler ophthalmic equipment.

Sheik Rahman, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust’s Community Optometrist (left) with Mizanur Rahman, Founder and Chair of Just Help Foundation, with the Keeler ophthalmic equipment.

The equipment was donated to the UK-based Just Help Foundation. Founded by British people of Bangladeshi origin, it is an independent, non-profit charity dedicated to helping individuals and families in the poorest communities to get out of poverty.

The hospital, under construction in Gowainghat in the Sylhet Region, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016 and will provide people living in extreme poverty the opportunity to get free eye examinations and treatment, including cataract operations.

The majority of the local population works in manual labour and earns an average of £1.50-£3 a day. For basic eye care people currently have to travel to the city (Sylhet) which is extremely costly as it involves travel costs, accommodation and, most importantly, doctors’ fees, which can be up to three day’s wages; that is before the costs of any medications, lenses or additional tests. The new hospital will therefor provide an urgently-needed local healthcare service.

“On behalf of the Just Help Foundation, I would like to thank Keeler for donating this equipment,” says Mizanur Rahman, Founder and Chair of the Just help Foundation. “These types of ophthalmoscopes and retinoscopes are not readily available in Bangladesh and will be put to good use helping poor people with sight problems.”

Keeler’s Managing Director, Abbas Sotoudeh, added, “To be able to contribute to this sort of project, which will help so many poor people who would not otherwise get their eyesight checked, is a genuine privilege.”

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Keeler Sponsors Windsor Boys’ School Rowing Team

As part of its ongoing commitment to the Windsor community where it is based, Keeler Limited has paid for the kit for Windsor Boys’ School’s rowing club, known as the ‘Boat Club’.

Abbas Sotoudeh, Keeler’s Managing Director, presenting jerseys to William Jacobs, Windsor Boys’ School’s Captain of Boats, outside Keeler’s Windsor HQ.

Abbas Sotoudeh, Keeler’s Managing Director, presenting jerseys to William Jacobs, Windsor Boys’ School’s Captain of Boats, outside Keeler’s Windsor HQ.

“Rowing is the school’s flagship sport – incredibly rare for a state comprehensive school,” says the school’s Director of Rowing Mark Wilkinson. “Yet, despite the school’s status we are blessed with a host of national champions and international representatives and a host of well-qualified and dedicated coaches. Rowing is in our blood and all the boys at the school are given the opportunity to row,” added Mark.

Keeler, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ophthalmic diagnostic equipment, has been located in Windsor for over ninety years. Tucked away in a cul-de-sac in a quiet residential neighbourhood, the company has close ties to the local community and is often involved in sponsoring local organisations and causes.

The company’s Managing Director Abbas Sotoudeh, who presented the jerseys to the rowing team, said, “It’s a genuine privilege to be able to help out the Windsor Boy’s School in this way. Being a comprehensive, it doesn’t have the funds available to it that many private schools have; despite that, the school’s Boat Club is highly regarded and very successful. If we can play even a small part in that success by covering the cost of their rowing kit, it makes us very happy.”

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Keeler Hosts Bradford University Students at its Windsor Facility

Keeler recently hosted forty optometry students from Bradford University at its headquarters in Windsor.

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Keeler is the only ophthalmic instrument manufacturer in the UK to offer students the opportunity to tour the factory and learn how ophthalmoscopes are made – the company also gives students the chance to learn how to make their own ophthalmoscope! In-depth knowledge about the manufacture and operation of these products helps equip students with the practical side of diagnostic care, allowing them to implement eye care with confidence.

Attending students included those on the first, second and third years of Bradford’s undergraduate Optometry BSc Hons programme. Across all UK universities, Bradford’s School of Optometry and Vision Science has the highest proportion of registered optometrists amongst its staff, and its optometry courses have been given a 93% overall satisfaction by students in the National Student Survey.

Keeler’s Laura Haverley, who hosted the students, said of the day: “It was a real privilege to meet with future optometrists and host them here in Windsor. We had a great day and I hope the students left with valuable knowledge that will help them with their course and future career.”

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Addenbrooke’s Hospital Introduces Telemedicine for Sight Screening of Premature Babies

To improve time-critical sight screening for premature babies at risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s Eye Department has introduced a new telemedicine service. Led by its Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist Louise Allen, the service uses an innovative approach to assessing ROP using the Vantage digital indirect ophthalmoscope from Keeler.

Louise Allen, Addenbrooke Hospital’s Paediatric Ophthalmologist, with a Keeler Vantage indirect ophthalmoscope.

Louise Allen, Addenbrooke Hospital’s Paediatric Ophthalmologist, with a Keeler Vantage indirect ophthalmoscope.

ROP affects around 70% of very early, low birthweight babies and can lead to blindness if not treated promptly with laser surgery. Until now, any babies screened in Eastern neonatal network units and suspected of having severe ROP warranting treatment had to be transferred to Addenbrooke’s for a second opinion. This often involved a long journey across the region in a neonatal ambulance.

“Addenbrooke‘s is the established treatment centre for ROP in the Eastern network,” Louise explained. “That used to mean that any at-risk babies in the region were immediately transferred to us – sometimes over long distances – so we could examine them in person. This was obviously stressful and disruptive for the baby and his/her parents, and it created a significant knock-on effect in the ward, requiring other babies to be moved to other units in the region to free up cot space for the transfer. Also, if I found that the baby’s ROP was not severe enough to treat at that time, he/she would be returned to the original unit, possibly to make the trip again a week or so later for review. It therefore made sense to adopt a new approach.”

This new approach involves seven Vantage indirect ophthalmoscopes being delivered to hospitals throughout the Eastern region. The Vantage allows the capture of digital images which can then be sent anywhere in the world for examination – known as telemedicine. This may transform the way ROP is managed in the UK.

“The joy of telemedicine using an indirect ophthalmoscope is that you can send a high-quality digital image remotely and can get an immediate second opinion without having to physically send the baby,” added Louise. “This means we can eliminate unnecessary transfers and keep the neonatal intensive care cots here free for babies in need. Additionally, the digital indirect ophthalmoscope is more cost effective than other photographic methods and can also be used for training our future screeners. ”

The telemedicine project could not have been possible without support from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT). “The trust was delighted to fund the ROP project so that patients from neighbouring hospitals can benefit from the expertise that Addenbrooke’s has to offer,” commented the ACT’s Chief Executive, Stephen Davies.

Commenting on the project, Keeler’s Research and Development Director, Adrian Beasley, said, “As an engineer there is nothing more rewarding than working on technology that has real human impact. It’s therefore a real privilege to work alongside Louise and the professional team at Addenbrooke’s. I have no doubt that the project will save sight and deliver cost savings for Addenbrooke’s and the Eastern region.”

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Keeler and Accutome win Scottish Ophthalmology Tender

British ophthalmic instrument specialist Keeler and its American sister company Accutome have been chosen by the Scottish Government to supply every optometry practice in Scotland with an Accutome Pachpen Pachymeter.

Almost 800 units will be distributed throughout Scotland, paid for by the Scottish Government’s Primary Care Fund. This roll-out is part of the Scottish Government’s initiative to provide a first class eye care service and improve the screening of sight-threatening and treatable conditions such as glaucoma.

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Accutome’s Pachpen is lightweight, portable, and a highly versatile instrument with a gentle touch probe for patient comfort.  The PachPen’s advanced Digital Signal Processing combined with its 65MHz sampling probe ensures precise and reliable measurement of cornea thickness with +/- 5 microns of accuracy.  Accutome has a long standing history of innovation and superior quality. The original founder of Accutome was one of the early adopters of RK procedures and invented the first pachymeter.

Keeler has had a strong presence in Scotland for many years and understands the needs of the local ophthalmic community.  It also has extensive support and service facilities in place in the country. Through their partnership with Accutome who have extensive experience in ophthalmic diagnostic and ophthalmic ultrasound equipment, the sister companies can provide a formidable range of high quality products to ophthalmologists and primary care specialists.

Keeler and Accutome, both subsidiaries of Halma plc, won the Scottish tender as a result of their close collaboration and their ability to deliver on quality, functionality, price and commitment to on-time delivery.   Abbas Sotoudeh, Keeler’s Managing Director, commented: “The partnership between Keeler and Accutome has enabled us to provide a product of high quality and exceptional value that will enhance General Ophthalmic Services in Scotland.”

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Student of the Year Award Announced at AOP Awards

Keeler sponsored the Association of Optometrists ‘Student of the Year’ award at this year’s AOP Awards in November. Winners were revealed at a special black tie gala dinner at the NOC in Birmingham, and Shaimil Shah was announced as Student of the Year.

A Cardiff University optometry undergraduate, Shaimil has been inspirational in establishing an optometry community among his fellow undergraduate peers. He achieved this by refreshing the optometry school’s buddy system and establishing the Boots Varsity Cup, a day of sports and socialising with the pharmacy school at the University.

Host Fergus Walsh with Shaimil Shah and Laura Haverley from Keeler_blog

Image caption: Host Fergus Walsh presents the award to Shaimil Shah (centre), with Keeler’s Laura Haverley

The buddy system assigns a trio of undergraduates from other years within the school to new undergraduates entering the programme. This helps new students settle into university life by supporting them both academically and socially, with an ‘optom family’.

Laura Haverley, Marketing Manager at Keeler, commented: ‘Keeler would like to congratulate Shaimil on his well-deserved Student of the Year award. We are delighted to sponsor this award at the AOP event. It is important to recognise the good work of up and coming optometrists, they are the future of the industry and it’s exciting to see such bright talent around.”

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Keeler Hosts Students from Aston University

Keeler recently hosted forty optometry students from Aston University at its headquarters in Windsor. Keeler is the only ophthalmic instrument manufacturer in the UK which provided students with the opportunity to tour the factory and learn how ophthalmoscopes were made; students also had the chance to learn how to make their own. In-depth knowledge of the making and operation of these products helps equip students with the practical side of diagnostic care, allowing them to implement eye care with confidence.

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Attending students covered the first, second and third years of the Bachelors Optometry programme at Aston, a course reported as first in the UK in the Sunday Times University Guide 2015 and the Complete University Guide 2016.

Laura Haverley, who hosted the students at Keeler, commented: “It was a privilege to meet with the future of optometry and host them here. We had a great day and I hope the students left with valuable knowledge that will help them with their course and future career.”

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Keeler Introduces Disposable Applanation Prism

Keeler has introduced a new disposable applanation prism, Tonomate, to facilitate safe and fast Goldmann applanation tonometry.

Tonomate prisms are manufactured to the high quality associated with the Keeler brand and designed to fit most applanation tonometer prism holders. Each prism is individually packed in sterile packaging and can be fitted easily without requiring direct contact.  The prism is discarded after use to streamline eye examinations and prevent the cross-infection of diseases between patients that can be transmitted via the tear film.

Tonomate prisms are ideal for use with D-KAT, Keeler’s digital applanation tonometer. D-KAT is available in R-type and T-type variants for -H- style slit lamps and as a Z-type model for Z-style slit lamps. It features fewer moving parts compared to conventional applanation tonometers and an LED display makes it easy to read in the dark.

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David Keeler Retires from Keeler Instruments Inc. after 50 Years of Service

Keeler says goodbye and thank you to David Keeler, who recently retired as President of Keeler Instruments Inc. after 50 years of service.

David Keeler, whose grandfather began the Keeler ophthalmic manufacturing company in 1917, joined the family business in 1965 after qualifying as a dispensing optician. He moved to Philadelphia, USA in 1972 as President of Keeler Instruments Inc. where he led a team, supplying Keeler’s high-quality, diagnostic products to ophthalmologists and optometrists.

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Keeler USA held a retirement party in David’s honour which was attended by family, friends, employees both past and present, customers, industry contacts and the press.

Jobson Medical Information LLC, publishers of the oldest and most respected Journals Review of Optometry and Review of Ophthalmology attended the event and presented David with its annual Lifetime Achievement Award.  Such an award is typically only awarded to doctors who make outstanding contributions to the eye care industry. David is the first recipient who is not a doctor.

Andrew Williams, CEO of Keeler’s parent company, Halma, thanked David ‘for his immense contribution and his 50 years of service to the Keeler Group in his role as President of Keeler Inc.’ and wished David ‘a long and happy retirement.’

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