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Topcon DC-4 digital camera: Dr Huw Pinney shares why the Topcon DC-4 changed his opinion of slit lamp mounted cameras.

During my career I have generally shied away from slit lamp mounted cameras as I've not been impressed with the image quality of the integrated cameras and have found that the heavy SLR cameras impair the ergonomics of the slit lamp in normal use. However, this changed when Topcon combined its new DC-4 digital camera with LED illumination in the SL-D701 slit lamp.

The game-changer

The DC-4 camera is neatly integrated into the observation system of the slit lamp and does not affect the performance of the microscope. It uses a five-megapixel CMOS chip, which provides more than enough resolution for detailed image capture.

The LED illumination provides a light source that is brighter than conventional halogen bulbs, while the shorter wavelength light enhances the view of anterior segment structures and anomalies such as flare in the anterior chamber. But it is not until I revert back to a halogen-illuminated slit lamp that I realise just how much of an improvement the LED illumination makes to detailed observation.

The camera is easy to use and, in auto-exposure mode, all variables such as aperture, shutter speed and white balance can be set to automatic, which, for the majority of imaging, works well.

Once the DC4 software is running on my desktop computer and the patient is selected, the images can be taken by pressing the button on top of the joystick. A live view is also provided, meaning a third party accompanying the patient can see the slit lamp view in real time on my desktop.


Like all image acquisition equipment, this camera enables the creation of a permanent record of any abnormality or otherwise. Certainly for me, as I lack artistic flair, my fundus camera and now anterior segment camera are an essential part of my record keeping.

Interestingly, it is possible to record fundus images with the DC-4 in conjunction with a Volk lens. Though I would say that the image is of lower quality than for the anterior segment images, I can record peripheral fundus abnormalities occurring outside the normal field of view of a conventional fundus camera.

Patient benefits

Where the camera is particularly useful is for patient education and as an aid to communication. If you can show a patient the scratched, chipped or heavily deposited contact lens that's in their eye, it becomes much more personal for the patient and they are more likely to adhere to a care regime or understand why a new contact lens is required. In a similar way, it facilitates the conversation when a more advanced or premium material is required, for example, in cases of corneal neovascularisation.

In conclusion, I find the DC-4 slit lamp camera a very useful addition to my equipment list. Most importantly it facilitates patient education and management, as well as enhancing the quality of care.

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Title Annotation:Marketplace: services and products for the practitioner
Author:Pinney, Huw
Publication:Optometry Today
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 1, 2016
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