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NEWS | May 4, 2021

Army tests ophthalmic slit lamp at JBSA-Camp Bullis

By Jose E. Rodriguez U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Medical Test and Evaluation Activity, or USAMTEAC, conducted a customer test of an ophthalmic slit lamp at the Deployable Medical System Equipment for Training site at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis recently.

The USAMTEAC is part of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and the test was conducted for the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, or USAMMDA

The customer test was conducted in a simulated field hospital at the DMSET site, which represented the operational environment. The purpose of the test was to assess the effectiveness of the ophthalmic slit lamp, or OSL, in supporting the medical mission and the suitability of the OSL in a simulated operational environment. The OSL was operated by Soldiers having various medical military occupational specialties and areas of concentration.

The OSL is an instrument that consists of a high-intensity light source that can be focused to shine a thin sheet of light into the eye and is used in conjunction with a bio-microscope. Most people have seen an OSL while receiving an eye test.

The OSL facilitates an examination of the anterior segment and posterior segment of the human eye, which includes the eyelid, sclera, conjunctiva, iris, natural crystalline lens, and cornea. The binocular slit lamp examination provides a stereoscopic magnified view of the system structure in detail that enables an anatomical diagnosis to be made for a variety of eye conditions.

“I think it's a very good device, the test players are happy with it,” said Charles Lohsandt, USAMTEAC Test Officer and Equipment Specialists. “The lamp has been pretty much standard in design since the beginning. They just upgraded the technology compared to the one used in the field right now. 

“This OSL goes from a standard light bulb to an LED which requires less power, lasts longer, and is brighter," Lohsandt said. That's a big upgrade, the test players like the LED and the actual capability they have for fine-tuning the light and simpler field maintenance.”

Lt. Col. Keith Schmidt, chief of optometry at the Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, had an opportunity to conduct a hands-on test of the OSL.

“Overall I think it's a good piece of equipment, it's consistent with the general practice standards,” Schmidt said. “I wouldn't have any issues with utilizing this equipment within our actual medical facilities, although what we’re testing this for is to be used in the field and in deployed environments. Ideally were concerned with its durability and its portability in an austere location such as a combat support hospital.”

After the customer test, USAMTEAC will provide an abbreviated operational report to USAMMDA, assisting them in the acquisition decision-making process. USAMMDA will review the results and determine if additional tests are required before finalizing the procurement process and any potential field deployments.