Topcon makes more Autorefractors than any other manufacturer around, and seeming that there have been nearly five new ARK models since the KR-8000 shows the company’s commitment towards refraction, and perhaps profits, too. When we test a Topcon autorefractor, we know that the machine will be accurate, fast, robust, and technologically advanced- regardless of its manufacturer date, and the KR-8000 is no exception to this notion. It does not however possess a color screen like its newer KR-8800, and KR-8900 siblings, nor does it include glare testing and acuities like the brand new KR-800. It utilizes a black and white CRT monitor, and an infrared sensor that illuminates the cornea only when you’re in the vicinity of the eye so in other words you’ll know that what you’re using isn’t fresh off the factory line. But for its market price, you shouldn’t really care. The KR-8000 is almost exactly as accurate as the newer ones (it’s based on the same prism technology) and boasts much of the same hardware the 8800 and 8900 do. No, it doesn’t have a fancy LCD screen that rotates in 17 different ways to impress your patient flow, but it will do everything you ask of it for many years to come.
OUR TAKE: A great, robust Autorefractor/Keratometer for a great price.
#1. Rotary Prism for Accuracy
The principles of auto refraction, and technology that take it from theory to practicality are complex and we don’t have 2 hours to really dive into it. Topcon claims its Rotary Prism technology is proprietary and enables their units to be more accurate than similar units on the market. We’ve attempted to study Topcon’s refractive technology, and understand why this would make their units more accurate, however we still have questions; questions that Topcon really has never answered. From what we know, the target itself is projected into the patient’s eye but then is rotated within the pupil. During that rotation, you’re able to go through a 2-mm pupil size, which is prevalent in older glaucoma patients or patients who have irregular corneas. This doesn’t necessarily mean the unit will be more accurate on the average patient, however it does mean the KR-8000 will be more accurate on patient’s with smaller pupils or irregular corneas.
The KR-8000 will not automatically capture an image through use of a motorized optical head; it will require an operator to get the image acquisition screen focussed correctly onto the cornea. However, the 8000 will guide you (via icon interface) to the ideal position, and then automatically capture the image. Although it does require use of the joystick to obtain proper alignment, this does ensure that the infrared sensor is ‘as properly aligned’ as it can be– this results in the best possible cone of light being refract into the pupil. Combining this with Topcon’s rotary prism technology, you can be sure that refractive (and keratometric) readings are as confident as they can be.
The KR-8000, along with all other Topcon instruments, are incredibly robust. We’ve already established that the 8000 is not the youngest ARK in the lineup, but at this price it shouldn’t be a large factor into whether you want one or not. The device is overall incredibly robust, and can withstand even the most intense of clinical use and conditions over decades. Since the optical head isn’t motorized, it’s not likely to go wrong with normal use, and the hardware is all easily replaced by Buzz.
It does have RS-232 connections outputs, however it will depend on your EHR company and whether they’ve offered the gateway for such device.
A 2.0mm pupil diameter.
In other words, how long will my investment last? Since the KR-8000 is an older instrument, you may think its lifespan is shortened, which isn’t exactly true. Every device that is sold here at Buzz undergoes a complete internal and external refurbishment process and should last many years. Regardless, we service these instruments after the warranty period has expired and will repair the unit if anything ever goes wrong.