It’s a fact that purple-colored plastics on anything larger than a rubber duck look absolutely ridiculous. Sad but true– the KR-8800’s plastic casing isn’t even a nicely tinted shade of purple. In fact, it looks like the children’s character Barney after a prolonged day in the sun whilst on holiday. But Topcon wanted the industry to know that its device was bringing color to the “big screen: and thus, out with the beige tinge and in with the purple; yes, the KR-8800 is the first Topcon Autorefractor to utilize a color LCD screen. It replaced the horrid CRT technology and finally gives customers an actual software interface, some sharp graphics, and an attractive upgrade from the KR-8000– an upgrade that is well worth the cost despite the two instruments being fairly similar. The new LCD screen displays both OD/OS measurements simultaneously, and best of all, doesn’t tire your eyes from constant refreshing or static. Topcon’s efforts result in a crisp and easy to read user display, and although Topcon isn’t the first to produce a color screen, they’re wise to keep the Autorefractor just that and steer from a unneeded computer-based operating system. Under the (purple) hood, you’ll find the same great/accurate rotary prism tech the KR-8000 carries, with auto-tracking, corneal measurement, IOL, and more. We do regard the KR-8800 as slightly faster(and quieter) than prior models, thanks to a new infrared processing sensor.
OUR TAKE: It’s so good at being basic it just might be on our top five list.
#1. Vivid & In-Color
Unlike it’s predecessor, the 8800 ditches the old CRT tube-television display, and utilizes a much more likable color LCD screen. This has many benefits, including greater operator comfort and robustness, however it also means that software can be better tuned to display real-time measurement data, along with icons that are no longer fuzzy and merely just black and white. The user experience is far better, and despite a mid-2000 original manufacturing date, still looks quite modern and sleek.
#2. Rotary Prism Tech.
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-8800 will be more accurate on patient’s with smaller pupils or irregular corneas.
#3. Auto-Tracking + Capture
The KR-8800 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 8800 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.
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.
In other words, how long will my investment last? Since the KR-8800 is between 8-12 years old, 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.