The HARK 599 is without doubt the greatest Autorefractor/Keratometer Zeiss has ever built– and perhaps one of the greatest Autorefraction designs, ever conceived. It’s why we still sell them after all these years. And it’s also why so many doctors (especially OMDs) are reluctant to change to something newer. What makes the HARK so special is its motorized optical head, which does all the work for you, and its pairing with built-in acuities, glare testing, and bundle of corrective Rx lenses– all-in-one. There just isn’t another autorefrator like it, and even that is an understatement. Although the software allows for manual capture, the HARK’s mortified optical head will automatically-align and capture both refractive and keratometric on each eye, all with just a simple touch on the joystick. Once measurement complete, the unit allows the operator to subjectively refract (aided or unaided) with Rx lenses and a complete range of acuity lines (20/10 – 20/200)– practically taking the place of a manual phoropter. The acuity lines can be horizontally isolated, and the deck also includes kids patterns and symbols, plus duochrome filtering. It’s a practical ARK + Phoropter + Acuity Chart built into one that sits on a single-top pre-test table.
OUR TAKE: A one-of-a-kind autorefractor that still dazzles in modern light. Refraction, Keratometry, Acuities, and Glare and built-in-to-one.
#1. Motorized & Automated
The HARK does indeed have a joystick (and a manual mode), but that doesn’t mean you really need to use it. In automatic mode, simply align the patient’s orbital lobe, and the HARK will do the rest, including auto-focussing, auto-tracking, and auto-capture of the cornea– for both refractive and keratometric measurements. Auto OD/OS switching will travel from right to left eye without interference from the operator, and the printer will auto-print the results. It’s one of the most automated auto-refractors ever made, and yet still allows complete manual controls for more than just measurement capturing– see the included benefits below.
#2. Built-In Acuities, Glare Testing
Rarely are we blessed with an ARK that does more than just capture basic refractive and keratometric data. Even by today’s standards, what the HARK is able to do is quite impressive, and that could be said about it’s measurement capabilities alone. The HARK is wonderfully accurate on both R and K spectrums– its ability to be completely automated is fantastic, but it doesn’t stop there. The 599 offers built-in acuity charts, and a full range of Rx lenses. This means that a full objective and subjective refraction can be performed (on most patients) with one unit and one unit only. Few auto refraction units ever made allow you the ability to compare objective, and subjective data on the same platform, let alone at the same time. This refractive achievement should not be understated, and we wish Zeiss would create something new with this same concept and technology.
#3. Glare Testing
We’re not experts on the clinical use of glare testing– however we do know that it’s useful in quantifying vision loss associated with light scatter. A lens opacity caused by cataracts or a corneal scar can cause incoming light to the eye to scatter, showering stray light rays across the retina. This light scatter reduces image contrast, therefore this matters if you’re a cataract surgeon. Having glare testing built into your ARK is nearly unheard of, but yet again the HARK delivers and of course it’s also automated. In manual mode, the HARK will illuminate a halogen lamp (internally) and do all the work, quantifying it for you on the printout.
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 3.0mm pupil diameter.
In other words, how long will my investment last? Since the HARK 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.
The HARK vertex options are actually quite diverse:
0.0, 10.5, 12.0, 13.5, 15.0, 16.5 mm